Government reform in Bethlehem is going nowhere, slow.
The Town Board on Wednesday, July 25, heard a report on three possible changes to government structure and, perhaps not surprisingly, decided not to do anything with them.
Their reasoning was focus should be on the budget process and change should occur outside of any election hoopla. It is good the town is focusing on its priorities, but at the same time, we must wonder exactly when this politics-free, perfect time to rearrange government might come about, and when the writing on the wall will be noticed.
One might assume more study and thought is called for, but it would be tough to make that argument. At this point, we can honestly stand in awe at the amount of time and effort that has gone into this endeavor. We wonder if any of it will ever be taken into account because if it were, much of this would be settled.
Here’s the summary. In 2008, the 20/20 Committee was given a broad charge to examine the future course of the town and what might be done to steer it in the proper direction. Over 18 months, that group of 27 members met a total of 20 times, including a presentation made to the Town Board in June of 2009. From there, it was about one year until the 20/20 Implementation Committee began meeting. A group of 16 split into three subcommittees to make intense study of topics raised by the original 20/20 report, including a “Modernization and Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness of Town Government” subcommittee.
This group produced a report entitled “21st Century Town Governance & Management Structure” that put forward the idea of a four-year supervisor term, eliminating elected department heads and giving the supervisor power to appoint or nominate key positions.