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Finance Committee updates

August 4, 2011

Town Moderator Jon Rockwood expects to name a new Finance Committee member to Mark Gallivan’s old seat between mid-August and early September. Rockwood confirmed for the first time this week that Russell Jones is a potential candidate for the position. However, he said that he considers a number of different factors in deciding who to appoint and has not officially zeroed in on any one individual. Both Rockwood and Jones confirm to 180 that neither have discussed the issue since June.

Rockwood’s most important priority in choosing a new Committee member is whether the member “will make decisions respecting the fiscal health of the town of Walpole, and respecting the interests of the taxpayers of Walpole,” he said.

“The ultimate decision is mine and mine alone,” Rockwood said.

Jones is a conservative who ran a surprisingly-strong campaign for the Board of Selectman this year and has already announced his intention to explore a run for the Board in 2012.

Meanwhile, in other Finance Committee news, all four members of the Finance Committee whose terms expired this year – Mary Kent, Joe Denneen, Susan Lawson, and Larry Pitman – were re-appointed. Mark Gallivan would have been the fifth member, but he resigned to become Selectman in June.

Although last year Rockwood removed five members who were up for re-appointment because he wanted change on the Committee, Rockwood said he kept the four members this year because the Committee has already been changed enough. After Rockwood removed the Fin Com Five last year, four other Committee members resigned, bringing the number of new members of the Committee to nine out of a total membership of 15. “Essentially, the additional four resignees became the changes I may have made this year,” Rockwood said. “In light of that, to bring in five new people this year would mean that 14 of the 15 people on FinCom would have had one year or less experience,” he said.

Whoever replaces Gallivan on the Committee will be the Committee’s tenth new member in just two years.

Rockwood indicated that he may be willing to make more changes on the Committee next year, but he made no commitment either way.

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