Main menu:


Subscribe by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner



Site search

Why I’m Voting Yes on Article 35

Article 35 is one of several similar articles before Town Meeting this year and previous years.

To me, it shakes out this way: I don’t want to discriminate on the basis of age.  If you can do the job, then you should be eligible for the job.  My vote will go towards anyone who can do the job, regardless of age.

Bogus issues:

  • Bogus 1: Town Meeting is not telling the chiefs who to hire.  We’re not telling the chiefs who to interview.  We’re just permitting people to enter the pool of applicants.  If you stand up and accuse town meeting of telling the chiefs what to do, you’re wasting my time.
  • Bogus 2: If you didn’t apply before you’re 32, then you don’t want the job enough.  How many people out there have the same career goals as when they were 20?  25?  32?  If, and this is a big if, IF you can do the job, who cares when you realize when you wanted to do it?  I welcome any 33, 35, 40, or 50+ applicant who can do the job.  I leave it to the chiefs to solve the “if” and figure out who can do the job and who can’t.

Issues that I disagree with (but at least have a leg to stand on):

  • Use the state physical standard law instead: A number of knowledgeable people have told me this is a bad idea.  The law is flawed. There is no money to fund the standards testing. The current physical standards are just as idiotic as age testing.  I haven’t yet seen a fact-based explanation of why this would be preferred.  If you think this is a better option, please be prepared to defend it.
  • Exceptions: A number think we shouldn’t grant exceptions to some people while we deny them to others.  I agree.  My answer is to offer exceptions to anyone.  Until the state fixes the blatant age discrimination of this law, and offers a viable alternative, I’ll vote for any non-serial-killer who seeks the exception.  I’m not suggesting that Town Meeting is a good forum to evaluate fire and police candidates.  I’m saying that it’s a better forum than the birth certificate.  Another flaw in this argument: if this option is so obscure, then why do we have so many of them?

The state law is flawed.  Town Meeting can’t fix that law.  Until it is fixed, we should increase the applicant pool as much as we can.  Let our officials choose the best of the bunch, regardless of age.


Comment from RichC
Time: May 4, 2008, 10:57 pm

What if you can do the job now, but will only be able to do it for a few more years? That’s a lot less valuable to the town than someone who can do the job now and for lots of years (because of training overhead). Is management allowed to consider this factor in the hiring decision?

Comment from dunster
Time: May 4, 2008, 11:45 pm

Yes, I’d advocate that management is allowed to consider that.

More specifically, I’d advocate a policy where you get to periodically test people’s ability to meet the job requirements.

I’m advocating for a sane policy. I’m not saying that Article 35 gets us to a sane policy. It just gets us slightly closer than otherwise.

Comment from RichC
Time: May 5, 2008, 11:48 am

Yes, I’d advocate that management is allowed to consider that.

Is management allowed to consider that now?

Comment from AMR
Time: May 5, 2008, 1:04 pm

“Another flaw in this argument: if this option is so obscure, then why do we have so many of them?”

We have a greater or lesser number of them each year, as the economy varies. We have no way at all of knowing how many people are unaware of this option of appealing the age requirement to Town Meeting. Neither can we know how many people disqualify themselves, thinking “Town Meeting would never vote for me.”

And that’s where I see the risk in granting these petitions. In seven years we’ve only had one petition from a woman, and that one comes this year. All the rest were from white men. All presented themselves as being involved in the life of our community, and qualified themselves by their memberships and affiliations.

We haven’t yet had a petitioner come before us and say, while a I don’t attend the same church as a majority of the public safety employees, or coach the same youth sports, or belong to the same civic associations, or look the same or speak with the same accent, the age limit discriminates against me just as much as it does against everyone else.

When that happens, I’ll know we are not judging these petitions to fix a flawed state law on the personal merits of the petitioners themselves; an ad hominem argument, and a failing one.

Til then, I’m voting No on Article 35 and on all similar petitions.

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » Town Meeting ‘08 Session 4
Time: May 9, 2008, 12:06 am

[…] in the audience I noted a number of men in suits. I’m guessing they were there to speak in articles 35-42. They left later in the evening when it became clear that our pace was pretty darn […]

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » Town Meeting ‘08 Session 5
Time: May 13, 2008, 8:49 am

[…] score will help him – once the patronage and preferences are applied. Of course, I’ll still support his wish to apply for the job. The meeting adjourned before taking a […]

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » Town Meeting Session #6
Time: May 15, 2008, 3:22 am

[…] 35 – Home Rule Matthew Silva, continued. Several speakers were in favor of seeking the exception, including me. The speakers noted that people are live longer and healthier than they used to. I argued that we […]