There’s no need to return to a five-member board
Hamburg is about to make a decision about upsizing the Town Board. Much has been said about how more members will make things more civil and how difficult it is to get the work done if the board members can’t talk to each other. It works in other towns; why won’t it work in Hamburg?
The idea of representative government is for the public’s business to be done with transparency and in public. In order for this process to work, board members must put political and personal considerations aside, leave their egos at the door and work together to get the town’s work done. It is not the size of the board that is the issue but the willingness of the members to do what is necessary in a nonpolitical, nonpersonal manner without grandstanding or pandering to the public.
One way to make it easier for the town’s business to get done is for the board to hold weekly meetings instead of only two per month. A weekly meeting preceded by a weekly work session will provide ample opportunity for discussion of matters of concern to the public without the voiced concern of violating the “Sunshine Law.”
There is a loophole in the law that allows board members to hold a “political caucus” where a majority presence, which would normally trigger the Sunshine Law, is allowed without restriction. If people believe that town business is not discussed in these meetings, they are woefully ill-informed.
There is no need to return the board to a five-member status. There is only a need for the public to force the town’s elected officials to do the work they were elected to do.