The town of West Newbury will be voting to change its structure of government in a ballot question on April 24, seeking to bring a town manager on board to run the day-to-day operations. West Newbury currently has a Board of Selectmen and a finance manager.
So basically West Newbury is following the lead of Winthrop, whose residents voted to scrub the Town Meeting and Board of Selectmen alignment in favor of a Town Council and a town manager, who oversees all town departments and administrative functions.
We remember Town Meeting well in Winthrop, where Moderator David Hubbard would preside at the old Middle School auditorium and Town Meeting members would vote on different articles. And at Town Hall, Town Accountant Lester Towlson would be the chief administrator for the Board of Selectmen that featured such giants as Robert Noonan, Marie Turner, Bob DeLeo, and Ron Vecchia, who would hold their meetings in the selectmen’s office.
Well, Winthrop made its change to a Town Manager form of government 10 years ago and it has been a tremendous success, no more so than today, with Town Manager James McKenna in charge of town government and Robert Driscoll Jr. carrying on the tradition of Council President with the excellence of his predecessors, Thomas Reilly, Jeffrey Turco, and Peter Gill.
To the committee that selected James McKenna, we say, “Great choice.” As Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick have shown with the Patriots, when you have exceptional leadership at the top, as we do with James McKenna, great things happen — and Winthrop has never been stronger, has never had better school buildings and such outstanding public safety departments, or looked better than it does today.