Kentlands Board Proposes Payment For Some Town Crier Materials : LUSENET : Kentlands : One Thread

Kentlands Board Proposes Payment For Some Town Crier Materials.


If you didn’t receive this notice from Dick Arkin, go to Kentlands Home Page, go to Events/Activities, go to Proposed Amendments: Newspaper Policies and Operating Procedures.

This proposal is [not only for materials it's] for additional paid staff; "designated staff writers, artists, and photographers to provide coverage for specific events" and thus to provide "material" for the Town Crier.

The Kentlands TOWN CRIER is the assembly’s paper, “the Board believes that it would be desirable and appropriate for the editor to designate particular staff members and pay them for covering specific events”.

The Town Crier has lost "Year to Date" $ 8,170.00 (source CMC) as of the end of August 2001. At this rate the loss will be $12, 000 for the year 2001.

Presently, the Board may not pay for material to use in articles, etc. However, with this change, the loss will be even greater.

What’s your opinion?

-- Bill Edens (, October 02, 2001


I’m perplexed by this proposal. There was a request to raise the stipend for the editor just in August which Tony told me was approved. Surely, the board wouldn’t put more money into The Town Crier this soon before the efficacy of having just raised the cost is established.

If the proposal is to allow Diane to pay writers out of her stipend, this is likely to cause an accounting/auditing nightmare. When one establishes a precedent of this nature, one needs to consider the position, not the person in it. In the future, someone could be in that position to whom the board would not feel comfortable granting such license. Establishing a practice that would not be suitable for an unknown future person in the position is not sound practice. There should be a separate account for payment of auxiliary persons if they are to be paid.

As it is, there is an inherent conflict in the Crier’s implied mission. It is stated to be a newspaper and communication of the board. Yet currently it is functioning as an independent community newspaper. An independent community newspaper, by its nature, cannot be controlled by the board, and the board cannot, by its nature, publish an independent community newspaper.

One solution would be to cut the Crier loose: sell it, and have the board publish something like the Gaithersburg Communiqué.

Whatever happens with the Crier, I don’t want my association fees to go up at this point in order to further subsidize it.

-- Marion Perry (, October 22, 2001.

Marion, I absolutely agree with you that there is an inherent conflict in the idea of a community newspaper being independent, yet a communication of the Board, or, alternatively, the Board's publishing an independent community newspaper. It is an issue that has never been adequately resolved by our community. Where is the correct balance between the two extremes, i.e., a publication that is entirely board-controlled and one that is an independent enterprise? Is it even possible to achieve such a balance?

The promise, when the Town Crier was converted to its current form, was that costs would be lowered (one of the first steps was to convert to cheaper paper, as I recall) and that the paper would ultimately make money, which could be used for community projects. That might have been possible, with the paper's being basically a volunteer effort. But with its becoming, increasingly, a paid-for enterprise, it seems as if that idealistic vision is out the window. Instead, we are faced with considerable projected losses for the Town Crier for 2002 and 2003 and with no apparent end to those losses in sight.

Tomorrow, November 25th, there will be a public hearing on the fiscal year 2003 draft budget at 7:30 p.m. in the clubhouse. All residents have been encouraged to attend and express their views. Changes in the Town Crier's income and expenses are listed as among the "more significant 2002-2003 variances" contributing to the projected increase in our HOA dues, to begin in 2003. This is my position, which I will communicate to the board. Rather than making the community pay for the continuing and substantial financial losses of the Town Crier as a growing, essentially independent enterprise, rein the paper in and set limits.

The idea of cutting our losses (and maybe even recuperating some of that money) by selling the Town Crier has some appeal. But, maybe, I have lived here too long. I see the Town Crier as belonging to the Assembly and one of the few traditions we have. The people who have worked on it, its form and its content may have changed over the years, but it has always been the Assembly's "Town Crier."

-- Mary N. Macdonald (, November 24, 2002.

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