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Rich Sidney

for Natick Select Board 2023
Trusted - Experienced - Collaborative
Serving Natick for 20 years

Transparency in Government

Transparency in our government is desired by all of us, but more importantly it is a necessary function for good government. The more we know how our government works and what is happening in our government and our community, the more comfortable we feel and trust that government is working for us. Transparency also provides opportunities for potential government leaders of tomorrow to develop knowledge and eagerness to serve.

I have a long history of working to increase transparency in our local government. Here are just three examples:

As a Finance Committee member, I worked with the Administration to
clarify their budget presentations. I convinced the Administration to
track indirect costs – that is, the cost of services delivered between
departments. For example, by tracking and reporting indirect costs
the Town could report the complete costs to run the Golf Course and
make more informed decisions with better data.

As the chair of the Town Meeting Electronic Voting Study Committee,
I focused on the pros and cons of electronic voting at Town Meeting
and led the committee to recommend and facilitate the
implementation of electronic voting.  Electronic voting not only
streamlines the voting process; it also provides a documented record
of each Town Meeting member’s votes.

As a Select Board member since September 2022, I have
insisted that we release executive session minutes as soon as
possible. Depending on the topic(s) covered in an executive session,
legal requirements such as privacy laws and litigation sometimes
require that release be delayed, or that certain information contained
in the minutes be redacted before release. I will make sure that we
evaluate each situation and release information as soon as possible.


If re-elected to the Select Board, I will continue my long-held practice of bringing  increased awareness, understanding, and accessibility to and about our town government. The following are examples of areas in which I will focus:


Using my strong technical background and knowledge of electronic

communications, I will ensure that the Select Board establishes 

realistic and time-bound objectives to make the website

easier to navigate and to enable residents to find the information

they need in an approachable and timely manner.


Increase the transparency, whenever possible, that the Select Board
provides to the community on issues coming before them.

Focus on delivering services in a more user-friendly and efficient
manner – for example, encourage the use of online building permits,
promote use of WaterSmart to track water usage to prevent
unexpected water bill surprises, advocate for businesses and
residents to sign up for the Emergency Alert System (RAVE) for
urgent public safety alerts, and push for new programs such as online
sign-up for bulky waste pickup.

Actively listen to residents' concerns and issues and offer a prompt
response when possible or explain to the resident why a response
may be delayed.

Support and advance the Select Board’s commitment to review Town
governance and determine what changes may be needed. At the
request of the Select Board, the Town Governance Study Committee
(TGSC) is identifying issues with Natick’s current governance model
and considering what modifications might better serve the needs of
the community. Their report is expected later this year. I’ll study that
report, evaluate the options presented, and advocate for changes that
make sense for our Town.

Transparency is key to an informed public and a well-functioning community. I consider transparency critical to the future of Natick and I will do all that I can to foster it.

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