Committee to Restore Representation in West Seneca

This Committee was formed to get a proposition on the ballot in the Town of West Seneca to increase the size of our Town Board from 3 to 5 and pass it.

Shall the number of councilmen be increased from two to four in the Town of West Seneca? YES!

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Vote YES on November 6 to restore our representation and begin the path to a more effective government.

The downsizing has not delivered on its goals and must come to an end!

Some are saying that the goals of downsizing were:

  • Lowering Taxes - By reducing the size of the town board and eliminating long term health and pension benefits
  • Increase citizen involvement
  • Establish open government, a forum for open debate and ideas
  • A grass roots movement, not a top down government

However these goals were not fulfilled after 9 years.

  • We did not see any lowering of taxes. Taxes have gone up faster than the rate of inflation ($8.7 million and 27.3% over 9 years). We have hired a lot more than 2 positions at higher rates of pay than those downsizing abolished together with long term health and pension benefits.
  • We have not seen increase in citizen involvement. In fact what we have seen is efforts to decrease citizen participation. (e.g. 3:00 p.m. meetings have increased, an attempt to eliminate citizens speaking at board meetings, etc.)
  • There has been at least 1 lawsuit over the Town's failure to adhere to the Open Meetings Law and we do not have a forum for open debate and ideas that are a result of the downsizing in 2009.
  • The effort to restore our Town Board to 5 is a grass roots movement. Hamburg has already went back to a 5 member Town Board because downsizing did not deliver on its goals.

Some also say that if we elect the same people, we will have the same problem whether the numbers are 3 or 5.

First, we have not elected the same people. Since going to a 3 member Town Board there has been 3 different Town Boards with different membership composition.

Second, while electing quality people to hold office is important, those who make this argument to retain a 3 member Town Board overlook the structural issues with a dangerously small legislative body that James Madison warned us of in the Federalist #55.

With a 3 member board there are only 3 combination of votes to pass/defeat an item, however with a 5 member board there 10 combinations of votes to pass/defeat an item. So while it may be 1 vote that decides an issue there are much more combination of votes so that 1 vote is not necessarily the same vote.

"The first thing is human nature. After all, a board is nothing more than a group of human beings trying to work together to create the best results for the organization they are charged with directing and protecting. Human beings work best in groups of a certain size. Over the years a number of studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of group decision making. One such study by the authors of Decide and Deliver: 5 Steps to Breakthrough Performance in Your Organization determined that the optimum size for a decision-making group was seven people and that for each person added above this, the group’s decision making effectiveness was reduced by 10%. (Note 3) Another study found that the most effective number was five, but then noted that the effectiveness of the group decision making in groups between five and eight neither increases nor decreases. (Notes 7,8) Drawing from these studies, it would seem that the ideal board size as far as human decision making is somewhere between five and eight."

Vote YES on November 6 to restore our representation and begin the path to a more effective government.