Editorial: Draw your own conclusions

The Bethlehem Town Board at its most recent meeting discussed at length a new report drafted by the Governance Options Study Committee, and if you were there to hear the fireworks, you haven’t a clue what’s in it.

Instead, board members aired concerns about Supervisor John Clarkson’s supposed involvement in the writing of the report. You can read all about it on the front page.

We won’t be weighing in on whether the supervisor overstepped his bounds or not, but we will support one assertion Clarkson made at the Wednesday meeting: that members of the public should take a look at the document and draw their own conclusions.

Bethlehem residents have before them a rare opportunity. Oftentimes when a new report lands from one of the town’s many committees, the Town Board will accept and review the document at the same meeting, giving the public little time to study it and form intelligent opinions. By the time the next board meeting rolls around and the mic is open, the issue is sometimes already vanishing in the rearview mirror.

Now, residents have at least another week’s time before members of the Governance Options Study Committee come to brief the board. We hope they’ll use that time wisely to become reinvigorated and knowledgeable on the three proposals examined in the report: forming a ward structure in Bethlehem, making several elected offices appointed ones and fiddling with the terms of some elected officials (most notably the supervisor’s).

The report itself is 55 pages long and for all intents and purposes is a fairly comprehensive document. It’s easily accessible on the town’s website.

For Bethlehem watchdogs, a lot of the report is going to seem a bit like old news, and that’s because it is. Regular readers will realize two of the three topics explored in this report (elected offices and term lengths) were given a rather extensive airing just last year under the 20/20 Implementation Committee.

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