Amherst Town Hall: Flying the UN flag for over 40 years
After the controversial year in the Amherst public schools, amplified by mishandling, it's obvious they could use some Public Relations input. But I'm not so sure a traditional PR flack is the answer -- especially when it's only a part-time position.
What the town and schools really need is a PR savvy department-head-level position, filled by a person with common sense who can give recommendations to executive decision makers BEFORE they make a major faux pas.
Cancel "West Side Story" because it offends a 17-year-old Hispanic girl? Condone the only High School production of "Vagina Monologues" in the nation and allow teen aged girls to shout the "C-word" at the top of their lungs (what's next, the N-word?).
Not just "no," but "Are-out-of-your-fu@king-mind" kind of No. A booming, resonating NO that gets the attention of a clueless PC Superintendent and prevents a public relations disaster played out on a national stage.
The Town also needs such a gatekeeper, perhaps even more so than the Schools. At least the Schools have a mayor-like leader who pretty much does as she wishes and to Hell with diffident School Committees.
In town government power is schizophrenically split between the part-time amateur elected overseers, the venerable 5 person Select Board, their appointed CEO the Town Manager and the doddering white clan of 254 do-gooders, Town Meeting.
Refuse to fly commemorative American flags on 9/11? Well you might as well ban a July 4th Parade or place a tax on Boy Scouts selling Christmas trees.
Monumental mistakes even a Madison Avenue flack would have trouble smoothing over.