Weekly Feature

2015-01-07 / Editorials

Board issues shouldn’t deter public participation

Bee Editorial

The Town of Clarence has many boards comprised of volunteers. People volunteer their time to make informed decisions that will plan the future landscape of the community. Some boards made up of volunteers oversee town-funded departments such as the Youth Bureau. And volunteers offer their time to run farmers markets or advocate on behalf of important projects such as historic preservation.

No matter what, the town is better off because of the selfless and consistent contributions that the people who live here make for the benefit of all.

It is our hope that the issues regarding Beverly Campochiaro’s position on the Clarence Youth Board will not diminish resident participation in the future because of some bad publicity.

It appears as though this is a plain-and-simple conflict of personalities that will work itself out, albeit rather publicly. Not being offered an explanation for why Campochiaro wouldn’t be retained is evidence of this. And with so many peers expressing dismay over the Town Board even toying with not retaining her, we find difficulty explaining it ourselves. If there is a legitimate reason for not keeping a veteran volunteer who has by all accounts done nothing but good things for the Youth Bureau, let’s hear it.

In speaking with many supporters of Campochiaro the past few days, one thing that became clear was their fear that seeing this story published might inhibit future volunteers from stepping forward. That being vocal about one’s own opinions might just get them kicked off a board in the end. Campochiaro herself questioned why the Youth Board wasn’t in charge of regulating its own members instead of the town. Rest assured, there are bodies that oversee all town decisions, even the ones made by the Town Board. In this case the Ethics Board — also comprised of volunteers — would step in and right any wrongs if needed.

The Youth Board already has vacancies without Campochiaro’s absence. There is typically an opening or two on the dozen or so other town boards that help facilitate or oversee government activities.

And likely if you asked any other volunteer group in the community if they needed some assistance, they would jump at the chance to have you.

There are and will be personality conflicts in every facet of life. Don’t let publicized ones deter you from being outgoing and doing what it is that makes Clarence a great community — helping others.

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