The town of Ayer Finance Committee has been operating with only three of five positions filled since November 2013. The latest vacancy came just as the committee entered its busiest season of preparing and recommending the fiscal 2015 omnibus budget.

During November and December the committee has struggled with quorum on occasion as members balance their committee obligation, work life and family. While my fellow members and I remain dedicated to the task at hand, the committee cannot keep its current pace and workload with only three members.

In addition to Finance Committee itself, members are active on other committees, boards and workgroups in town. One member sits on the Ayer Shirley Regional School Building Committee to assist with the building process and provide the Finance Committee with updates on the progress. Two members are part of the Financial Policies Workgroup, which began updating the policies in the fall prior to losing a member. The Financial Policies are vital to the town's overall financial processes and planning which impact Ayer's Bond Rating. One member sits in the Personnel Board, which itself is functioning with only three of five members. The Personnel Board executes the town's personnel policies for nonunion employees as a part of the day-to-day operations for the town. For the budget process, one member sits on the Capital Planning Committee to participate in the decisions for long-term capital expenditures. The chairman and vice chairman meet with the BOS, town administrator, and town accountant as part of the BiBoard to collaborate ideas between the BOS and Finance Committee.

The obligations of the Finance Committee do go beyond the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. It plays an important active role in the financial processes and well-being in the town of Ayer. The workload is manageable when shared by five active members. However, the current committee is wearing thin and some of the work we participate in will need to be scaled back if we remain at only three members.

The Finance Committee is appointed by the moderator after recommendation by a review committee. Members of the Finance Committee must be registered to vote in the town of Ayer. Committee members cannot hold an elected office in town or be a town employee. No financial experience is necessary, simply a willingness to volunteer time and effort.

The Finance Committee is not alone with vacant positions. I hope that more like-minded individuals will come forward and offer their time and expertise to their fellow citizens.

A government of the people, by the people, for the people cannot function without people.

SCOTT HOUDE

Chairman

Ayer Finance Committee