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Letter: Help Us Be a More Informed Community, Make Changes in BCWA

Marina Peterson says lack of announcement yields lack of attendance at BCWA and Town Council meetings.

The held a very important workshop last Wednesday evening on the Low Water Pressure Issue in Bristol and part of Warren. NOT ONE PERSON was in attendance! At first glance it would seem very apathetic. Let’s look at how the meeting was “advertised” (and I use the term lightly). It was on the Secretary of State’s Site under BCWA meetings, agenda 1. High Service Area - Low Water Pressure, Bristol

It was on the BCWA site.

It was posted at the three town halls.

Now really, is this enough of an effort by our water authority to let their customers know about this very important workshop? How many people do you suppose get up in the morning and routinely go to the Secretary of State site to see which meetings they need to attend? Not too many.

How about by mail, at least to the 2,400 customers that are directly affected? Wouldn’t that have been worth consideration?

Folks, there has to be a better way. We all have to work together here to get this information out there. We obviously can’t rely on the water authority to notify its customers of these meetings. They are thrilled when no one shows up. It proves to them that no-one actually cares.

I would suggest that anyone who hears of an important meeting, be it BCWA, school committee, finance committee, town council meeting, etc. could . Also, tell a few people, and ask them to tell others.

The era of relying on town officials to take care of your needs and issues is over. We need active citizen involvement, on many fronts!

And when election time comes around, let's elect town coucil members that will go the extra mile to be sure that their constituents are informed of important meetings. 

Please be sure and attend the Bristol Town Council meeting on January 26th, 7:00pm, Bristol Town Hall,  which will be voting on accepting the recommendations of Tony Teixiera's committee for changes to be made to the Bristol County Water Authority act.  Changes need to be made!

Marina Peterson

Bristol, RI

Marge January 24, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Thank Marina for your suggestions!!
Antonio A Teixeira January 24, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The 14 recommendations from the Tri-Town BCWA Legislative/By-Laws committee are being discuss by the Town Council - 10 recommendations to change enable legislation and 4 recommendations to change BCWA By-Laws. The Tri-Town committee worked very diligently and careful in reviewing the current legislation and by-laws to propose changes that will make BCWA more efficient and avoid the long terms of directors who become entrenched. Come and support the proposed changes - it is OUR water authority, it's OUR dollars that pay for the water supply and operation! Good job by the entire committee; our community reps - Carolyn, Bill, Ray and the council reps. Scott and Bill.
marina peterson January 25, 2012 at 06:32 PM
This is an important meeting Tony and thank you for posting the information. Your committee did a terrific job on zooming in on the crucial areas and we are all hoping to see the Town Council of Bristol validate your suggestions.
marina peterson January 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I think it is time for all of us to come together and do what we can to get the information out there about school committee meetings, finance meetings, town council meetings, special town meetings, and BCWA meetings. They simply do NOT get enough exposure. We all must attend as many as we can, if for no other reason than to let the councils know that we are paying attention. If you hear of a meeting, put it on the Patch, or email some friends. Every little bit helps.
Gary Morse January 25, 2012 at 07:16 PM
It's hard to find any effective management process in anything done at BCWA. BCWA put little substance into this meeting notice, nor did they take advantage of the free meeting notice services available through the Patch websites. Instead of endorsing a need for new thinking on the BCWA board, recently, the Barrington Town Council split, 3-2, in a vote to leave things exactly the way they are – no term limits for board members. Barrington Councilor Cynthia Coyne made the motion for the status quo, and got the needed votes from Councilor Kate Weymouth and Council President June Speakman. Their position appears to be that institutional knowledge is better than fresh thinking. The long term record of "institutional knowledge" at BCWA is one of stale ideas, lack of management oversight, functional gridlock, and a board that had evolved into a men's club. Councilor's Speakman, Weymouth, and Coyne knew all of this because B&E Consulting made these points clear in their performance audit. Let's hope the town council's of Warren and Bristol have a better grasp on this and uphold the recommendation of the BCWA legislation by-laws subcommittee to limit the terms of the BCWA board members to 12 years. Maybe then we'll get a water authority that doesn't rely on minimal legal requirements as their "best practice" for notifying the community of an important meeting.
Jack Baillargeron January 26, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Knowing full well there is only one solution to the water pressure problem, the BCWA intentionally ignores is pretty cut and dry. The dissolution of the BCWA and the Tri-Towns out of the Water Utility business. It is an obvious solution, when you look at the results of this fiasco that was created with the enabling legislation. No By-Law changes, Board Replacements, Directors or any other feel good solutions will change the fact that the BCWA is not only a train wreck, but a wreck beyond repair, reminds me of AmTrack. I commend those trying to change it, however it has come time to realize there is no way to repair it. The problems are still hidden, the investigation into the BCWA has to this day never been realized. It is like blaming the waitress for the bad food the chef cooked at a restaurant. The B&E report did prove one thing however. The BCWA needs to have a “Forensic Audit” on all spending, bonds, loans, contracts, etc, since it was formed, or you defeat the purpose of finding the underlying problem that brought the BCWA to its current state. Well I dislike conspiracy theories for the most part, I do wonder why there has been so much, what appears to be political deflection of doing any real investigation for well over a decade now. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, guess what, it is a damn duck, in my opinion anyway. Where is the due diligence Councils? They love that word when slapping themselves on the back, but I don't see it for BCWA

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