I am Frank Maxant, running for re-election to the Ayer Board of Selectmen. I feel a special sense of responsibility this time because none of the other candidates have any experience managing municipal functions.
My background: Born in Ayer on Fort Devens in 1943, I was salutatorian of AHS Class of 1960. I sandwiched my United States Navy active duty between two engineering degrees at Cornell University. In 1975, coincident with my divorce, I left a chief engineer's position and returned to Ayer to run the machine shop my father had started. I am retired from the United States Naval Reserve with the rank of lieutenant commander. My daughter, son-in-law, and two elementary school-age grandchildren live in our mid-Atlantic region.
My background of service to Ayer: More than 20 years in a variety of appointed official and nongovernment positions. Two consecutive three-year terms as one of your selectmen. You didn't elect me to a third term. After two years, I ran again and you decided you wanted me back. I am now completing my ninth year of service to Ayer as selectman.
I see two issues as particularly important this year.
First, and perennially, is Ayer's financial stability. Our management team does wonderfully competent work for us. Our employees cooperate fully. This year and into the near future, at least, we are facing an extraordinary challenge to find adequate funding for our Ayer-Shirley Regional School District without straining Ayer's resources (read: taxpayers) to the breaking point. This requires working with state government, Shirley government, our district and Ayer's management team. Over the years I have developed personal familiarity and working relationships with people in all these positions. As Ayer's delegate to the Joint Boards of Selectmen, I maintain face-to-face communications with Shirley, Harvard and DREZ people, including regular "side" discussions of our regional school. I make time in my weekly research forays to our state library in our Statehouse to maintain and expand our contacts at the state level, in both the legislative and executive branches.
Second, is keeping our public fully informed as to your government's issues and work serving you. Our board's shortcomings in this area are costing Ayer money and staff time now and putting us at risk for more. By trampling into our treasurer's jurisdiction and even usurping her staff, we brought upon ourselves a lawsuit which has cost the selectmen's staff time and money in legal fees, and counting. This time could've been much better spent serving you, and the money needn't have been spent at all.
For reasons I can't fathom, my colleagues are intent upon keeping you in the dark about the fact that, instead of protecting us, our new sexual offender residency bylaw is inviting another expensive lawsuit.
My principal disagreement with my colleagues has been my insistence that we should serve impartially and in accordance with law, as our oath of office requires. My colleagues seem inclined to get caught up in the demands of small but noisy special interest groups to do whatever with no regard for the law. I have had some success shining the light of public awareness on us to keep us from doing unsavory things in executive session and from straying too far beyond our legal authority.
I hope you will agree that my concept of serving the general public within the law is what we need in this and all public offices and return me to your Board of Selectmen. If, upon reorganization after the election, our chair serves rather than attempts to control the board, you will see our tensions, resentments and rivalries evaporate, and we will have five selectmen applying our energies fruitfully for Ayer.
FRANK FREDERICK MAXANT