Proposal to Remove Barnstable County Commissioners Rejected

BARNSTABLE – A proposal calling for the elimination of the Board of Regional Commissioners from Barnstable County government has been rejected.

Originally put forth by the Charter Review Committee, the proposal failed at the Assembly of Delegates.

Barnstable delegate Patrick Princi, the fifteenth member, was absent for the vote. 

The proposal would have abolished the three-member board and would have handed its policy-making duties to the Assembly of Delegates, a 15 member legislative body with a representative from each town. 

Mashpee Delegate and Selectman Thomas O’Hara was against the proposal, and said that the removal of the board would hinder the town residents’ ability to have dialogue with their county government on issues. 

“Each one of us talks with people in our community. Not the same people all of the time, but people in our community. And I think there is a true value to that. I think that’s what county government is: it’s small government and residents do have a voice here. There are important issues that are going to come up and I don’t think having seven delegates is going to work,” said O’Hara. 

Dennis Delegate John Ohman, also against the proposal, said that the change would have diminished the pool of prospective commissioners for future elections. 

“The ongoing effect would dampen the number of qualified candidates that would consider running for county commissioner, likely leaving us with the fringe elements of the county that might want to usurp the county. And I think that’s a very dangerous place to go. There are people who will not run knowing it might be limited,” said Ohman. 

Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty said the vote “failed miserably” in a media statement. 

“From my viewpoint, the attempted regional government power grab by some infantile and self-absorbed members of the Assembly was tantamount to a juvenile temper tantrum being acted out at the expense of Cape Cod taxpayers and other county elected officials, like the Board of County Commissioners who actually do the job that the voters elected them to do,” said Beaty in the statement. 

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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