A look back at stories that made headlines this week in The Sandwich Enterprise:

20 Years Ago...

Representative Town Meeting ‘Hard Sell’

Members of the Charter Review Committee, after spending the past 2 1⁄2 years crafting the town’s first-ever charter, came before selectmen last night with the end result of their efforts.

The document presented to the board not only outlines the specific structures and procedures of town government, it also establishes a clear line of accountability and suggests some significant changes to the governmental machine itself.

After hearing the committee’s report, selectmen congratulated the group for a job well done, although they were not entirely supportive of every aspect of the 16-page document.

At the end of the hour-long discussion selectmen voted, albeit reluctantly, to discharge the group and agreed to continue their discussions at one of their monthly workshop meetings with the goal of forwarding the document to the upcoming Special Town Meeting.

The topic sure to take center stage at that workshop session is the idea of switching the format of Sandwich’s Town Meeting from open to representative, with a set number of representatives elected from each precinct. Last night, this was the aspect of the charter that raised the most concern among board members.

Selectman John S. Jillson was the only board member to wholeheartedly embrace the concept. “Its time has come, “ he said, admitting that it will be a “hard sell” to voters.

10 Years Ago...

Library Trustees Want Authority Returned To Them

The Sandwich Public Library’s Board of Trustees wants ultimate authority over its budget and library employees—authority it once had, but to its recent surprise, lost when the town charter was first adopted back in 2002.

It recently came to light that the charter, by fluke or design, put library personnel and budgetary powers in the hands of the town manager and selectmen.

Last week, the trustees appealed to selectmen to immediately amend the charter, bringing it into alignment with state law, which says the trustees should hold ultimate sway over library matters.

“We just want the charter to match state law,” said Jeanie M. Vander Pyl, the trustees’ chairman.

The selectmen, however, were a little hesitant to act quickly. They preferred to wait until the charter was up for review again in two years.

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