Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

March 20, 2014

Town election fires up

Oberto, O'Donoghue trade barbs in race for selectman's seat

(Continued)

“We are taxing pretty close to the levy limit,” she said. “That could give immediate relief to everybody.”

She said she’d push for accountability and transparency by asking tough questions. “We need to let people know they answer to the taxpayers,” she said.

“People are listening very carefully,” she added. “The audience is there. From speaking with many groups of people, people are very informed, but they are very frustrated.”

Oberto agreed.

She said seniors in particular feel left out of the process.

“They feel unimportant,” she said.

In fact, last Friday, a meeting was scheduled at Town Hall between members of the Board of Selectmen and representatives from the Punchard Center to discuss ongoing issues with the town’s seniors. But nobody from the Board of Selectmen attended. O’Donoghue, Oberto and about a dozen other people showed up.

“That was a slap in the face,” Oberto said. “Nobody even showed up to talk to them. The youth center goes through, but ‘screw the old folks’ is the feeling people have.”

Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli said the meeting was not posted, so it would have been illegal for the selectmen to attend.

Oberto said some people are now talking about term limits for selectmen.

“They’ve been there too long,” she said. “You like them as people, but it may be time to clean house.”

She said O’Donoghue will be more of the same.

“If they want someone who can spit out numbers and percentages until their eyes glaze over, they’ll vote one way,” she said. “If they want someone who asks normal questions — how can we afford this, how can we fix that, they’ll vote another way. The spending has to stop. Things have to tighten up, you have to say ‘no.’”

MARY O’DONOGHUE

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