Assembly of Delegates Considering Proposal to Eliminate Commissioners

BARNSTABLE – A proposal to restructure Barnstable County’s regional government was discussed earlier this month and will be voted on in early November.

The proposal calls for the elimination of the three-member Board of Regional Commissioners and would hand off its policy-making duties to the Assembly of Delegates, a 15 member legislative body with a representative from each town.

“This was a proposal that I felt would increase accountability, streamline county government, reduce redundancy in terms of presentations and reduce redundancy in terms of looking over budgets,” said Assembly Speaker Suzanne McAuliffe, one of the proponents for the change.

“It would increase accountability in that each person who is from a town is directly accountable to that town and represents that town at the county level. We are a regional government, so you would have regional representation.”

The League of Women Voters of Cape Cod also showed its support for this proposed change to the county government.

“The League has believed for some time that structural change with both the executive and legislative branches of county government would lead to greater efficiencies and better functioning of both,” said member Suzanne Brock.

Others at the meeting thought there were no problems with the current system in place and opposed the proposal.

“County government seemed to run very efficiently, and it was a very long time that it appeared to run very efficiently, so I had to ask myself ‘what’s changed?’ And what’s changed is the personnel,” said Felicia Penn, a former Cape Cod Economic Development Council member, who helped advise the commissioners in the past.

“You never rewrite the rules—or throw the baby out with the bathwater—and make decisions based on personnel. You never design a job description based on personnel. You design things to work so that they work regardless of the personnel,” said Penn.

The Assembly will vote on the potential proposal at the next meeting on November 6. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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