Dorothy Pam has long been a voice of courage, conscience and common sense on the Town Council. Her constituents, like the Town’s voters as a whole, have varied positions on the issues that come before the Council. She understands, as do they, that her responsibility is to act upon her best judgment and in what she understands to be their best interests. I do not always agree with her, but I never doubt her independence and integrity.
Now Robert Pam has joined his wife in manifesting those three c’s that I mentioned in the first sentence. A longtime Trustee of the Jones Library, he has served as Treasurer during these difficult and contentious times. Often, over the years, he has given the Trustees financial advice and expressed strong financial concerns that they did not want to hear and upon which they failed to act. Still, he loyally voted to move ahead with the Trustees’ unanimous vision of a significantly enlarged building at the Amity Street location.
Until this week. The recent escalation of costs and the nervous projection of new income to meet them compelled Pam to understand, as his fellow Trustees do not, that the current demolition-enlargement plan for the Jones building is untenable. Furthermore, he appreciates that in the current economic climate the Trustees’ decision to jump the queue, and the Councilors agreement to it, puts in jeopardy the other major capital projects – school, fire house, and DPW depot – and is not in the best interest of the Town. Pam showed the breadth of vision that his colleagues lack. The Trustees voted 5-1 to proceed with the project, using the library’s entire endowment as a guarantee for a portion of the increased costs. That one No vote is a vote for the Town.
Michael Greenebaum was Principal of Mark’s Meadow School from 1970 to 1991, and from 1974 taught Organization Studies in the Higher Education Center at the UMass School of Education. He served in Town Meeting from 1992, was on the first Charter Commission in 1993, and served on several town committees including the Town Commercial Relations Committee and the Long Range Planning Committee.