May be time for a change in plans
>We have no doubt that the Wadleigh Memorial Library board of trustees and their architect believe their proposal for a new library is the best possible design in which they, and the town, would get the most for their money.
The problem, though, is that there are two groups of people they have yet to convince:
– The voters, who rejected it twice.
– And, perhaps even more important than the voters – at least initially – the four members of the Board of Selectmen who twice have voted not to support the plan.
Without the support of the selectmen, there is little hope for the library proposal, as necessary as it might be. Certainly the library is in need of repairs – a great many repairs – but so is Milford High School, and a bond to make those fixes (and do other things in the schools) also failed.
Clearly voters weren’t in the mood to spend money, even though many who voted no were probably willing to agree that repairs were necessary.
School officials had a clear problem with selling their plan – asking for air conditioning for the high school gym, for instance, an immediate nonstarter with voters, we are convinced – but right now, the library board’s biggest hurdle is the selectmen.
And that is especially true of selectmen’s Chairman Mark Fougere. He leads the board, and while the other four members certainly are independent thinkers, it is often true in any form of collaborative work that a chairman’s point of view does carry some weight.
If they convince Fougere, the library board at least has a chance of getting another member aboard. Already, Selectman Kathy Bauer backs a library plan, but whether it has to be the one that has been rejected twice is uncertain.
And therein lies a dichotomy:
We accept the conclusion of the library board that the plan it has advanced twice is the best bang for the buck, but so what? No plan is worth a nickel if it is never adopted. All that means is that somewhere down the road, someone will remember that once there was a terrific library plan that never got adopted. It will be a footnote to Milford history, if even that.
Perhaps the library board believes that the third time will be the charm, and will come back to the town with the same plan. "The third time’s the charm" is an adage, of sorts, but so is this point of view often attributed to Albert Einstein:
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
We don’t mean to be flip about this, because we believe a new, or at least expanded and repaired, library is important. Wadleigh is a heavily used, used by all kinds of people and essential for Milford’s well-being.
The library board and its architect must decide what is more important. They can be like Theodore Roosevelt and declare, "I’d rather be right than president," and come back to the voters with the right, but so far unsuccessful, plan.
Or they can sit down with the selectmen and ask them for a clear answer to this:
"What plan can we propose that you will support?"
If the answer is, "None," well …
But we don’t believe that will be the answer. The selectmen know the building is cramped and and in many ways falling apart.
Let’s hear what the selectmen can support. It might not be what the library trustees want, but it might be the best they can get.