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Letter: The survey process

I am a Rowe selectman writing as an individual. As someone engaged with the Rowe School Building Committee’s (SBC) process, I have witnessed their high level of functionality right from the start.

Constructing a survey requires great skill and the SBC Survey Sub-Committee worked hard to produce an excellent result. As the chairman of the SBC explained in last night’s Selectboard meeting, the purpose of the survey was to get a sense of what townspeople wanted so that they could develop rebuilding criteria. It was not intended to serve as a townwide referendum or vote. While initially the surveys were supposed to be numbered, the Survey Sub-Committee chose not to do so. Their concern: that respondents would be less likely to return a numbered survey that could potentially be tracked back to them.

The author of “Flawed Survey Distributed in Rowe” cast doubt upon the survey based upon this lack of numbering. I believe that the survey is valid as sent. The enclosed pre-addressed return envelopes were stamped on Rowe’s Postage Meter, which is securely held in Town Hall, and places a unique meter number identified on the stamp. The survey return instructions clearly requested in bold that surveys be returned in those envelopes. A later townwide voice-mail also instructed: “Surveys are due Wednesday, Jan 9th, and must be returned in the self-addressed stamped envelope that was provided.” Thus yielding a clear control mechanism to support the survey’s validity.

No process is perfect. Given the survey’s purpose, it will achieve its intended result. The unfortunate effect of the “Flawed Survey” letter might be to impact the morale, hard work and dedication of our Rowe School Building Committee. Both the committee and Rowe’s citizens deserve better. I call upon all those who received surveys to support a democratic process and complete their survey so that each voice in town can be heard.

NOEL ABBOTT

Rowe

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