Monday, August 25, 2014

And The BILLY Goes to...

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, August 25, 2014
By Bill Gouveia


            It is that season again.  Tonight the Emmy Awards will be handed out to those who achieved special status in the area of television.  Then soon the Oscar Awards will be bestowed upon those who have reached high points with regard to the motion picture industry.


            All of which led me to wonder why there are no such special awards for local politics.  Surely those who participate in this noble profession (or hobby as the case may be) deserve some special recognition for what they do, be it positive or negative.


            Since I didn’t have time to form an academy or create an organization worthy of choosing the winners or even the categories themselves, I decided to take the weighty responsibility upon my own shoulders.  So with congratulations (or apologies) to all the lucky recipients, I now present to you the winners of the First Annual Bill Gouveia Local Political Awards.


            For Best Performance in a Rerun, the “Billy” (yes, that’s what they are called) goes to:  Retiring Mansfield School Superintendent Brenda Hodges.  While no doubt saving herself hours of time it would have taken to write her own graduation address, Hodges generated tremendous publicity and got her name in all the papers by simply rerunning someone else’s work  It does leave us all wondering just what her next role will be, however.


            In the Most Consistent Performance category, the “Billy” is awarded to:  The Plainville Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator.  They have handled the whole racino situation with calm, class, and dignity.  They continue to do what they believe is best for their constituents while working in a less-than-favorable production climate.


            Moving to the Best Self-Serving Performance category, the “Billy” is unanimously given to:  Mansfield Selectman Olivier Kozlowski.  The way he took a simple employment sign at a Lowe’s store and turned it into a political statement designed to draw attention to himself clearly outdid all his would-be challengers.  He was also named as a unanimous winner of the same award in the corresponding foreign awards ceremony.


            Now Most Heralded Newcomer is the category, and here the “Billy” goes to:  North Attleboro Selectman Patrick Reynolds.  Elected to the board before he even graduated from high school, this young political leader is smooth, polished, and smart.  Now he just needs to prove he can be effective and truly make a difference.  Will future nominations be headed his way?  We’ll see.


            In the Quickest To React To Critics category, the “Billy” has been taken by:  the Attleboro City Council.  Any decision they make seems likely to be changed at the next meeting if more than three people show up to protest it.  If you like flexibility in your politicians, you’ll be pleased to know this collection approaches contortionist status.


            The category of Longest Continuing Failure To Perform also produced a clear winner, with the “Billy” going to:  The North Attleboro Board of Selectmen.  Despite several votes by their constituents to place the question of government reform before the citizens in a binding manner, they continue to delay and make excuses.  If these folks had been part of our founding fathers, we would all still be sipping English tea in the afternoons and lobbying Parliament.


             The Most Inspiring Performance category resulted in the “Billy” being handed off to:  The citizens of the Town of Wrentham.  Those good folks recognized the need and importance of having their own Home Rule Charter and voted to send a home-rule petition to the legislature to do just that.  They deserve kudos for being unafraid of change and willing to take control of their own destiny.


            When they voted on the Worst Performance By An Ensemble Cast, the judges decided the “Billy” would be awarded to:  The Town Meeting Voters in Rehoboth.  While admirably trying to properly fund their school system, many of them decided to simply make a power-grab and force officials into an override vote they knew would probably end in defeat.  They seemed not to care what this would do to the community as a whole, particularly the town side of the budget.


            Well, that will do it for this first annual award process.  To all those not chosen, I say – congratulations.  You look relieved.


Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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