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I first met Vanessa Alvarado on an evening that shook my perception of town government. That evening, September 26, 2017, town leadership repeatedly stated the town would have benefited greatly from a complete Board of Health during a challenging staffing conflict. I pressed town leadership as to why then they waited close to 4 months to appoint a new member when 2 qualified candidates had applied shortly after the position had been listed in April. The failure to fill this vacancy in a timely fashion was a disservice to the town.
The subsequent leadership-described “emergency” led to a violation of the Home Rule Charter in order to push through Board of Health appointments. The assertion that the Home Rule Charter, a document approved by the voters, is not binding for the Board of Selectmen is deeply troubling. Additionally, the Selectmen’s dismissal of requests by Board of Health members to meet privately to resolve a personnel issue, and decision instead to forcibly remove said Board members, displayed poor leadership. As I left this meeting, disheartened, Ms. Alvarado pulled me aside to express her support and shared concerns.
Since that evening, I’ve had more interactions with Ms. Alvarado and I’ve witnessed her engage with other residents, too. She is never dismissive; she owns her positions but is amenable to new ideas when provided with new information. She has demonstrated her commitment to this town by not only serving on the Finance Committee but also attending every Board of Selectmen meeting for the last year. She is full of energy and, judging from a recent blog post titled “Engaging Reading Residents” (vanessaforreading.com), would bring innovation and a holistic approach to town leadership. She values the boards and commissions and displays intent to establish a collaborative relationship, rather than a top-down approach. This is exactly what I want in a leader. She is qualified. She is committed to this town.
Vanessa Alvarado is my choice for Selectman.