The March 19 Banner issue reported the election of Mr. Tim Scoggins as Shaftsbury’s Select Board Chairperson. Tim should be congratulated for his first official recommendation to improve the Board’s efficiency, a clever observation long overdue. He explained at great length the results of his self designed survey which he claimed wasted no one’s time but his own. He continued to point out interesting trends and considered his efforts to be a "success." Survey’s and polls are sometimes useful, but more often than not, they are highly questionable, particularly with politicians who are trained to slant the questions in one direction or another. An informed reader could certainly be justified to ask questions such as:
A 44 person response from 200 voters present at Town Meeting is a pretty good sample, but 2400 other voters were not invited to participate? 44 out of 2600 voters is 1.7 percent, a far cry from a 1300 voter majority.
Does the former Board regret not accepting Mr. Corey’s 159 voters’ petition to include a well-written ballot article for the purchase of the adjacent property? Wouldn’t that have been a better, more accurate and meaningful survey?
Does Tim still believe that he has wasted no one’s time but his own, even though he admits the survey did not meet his expectations?
Conclusion: Mr. Corey could take a lesson by labeling his future petitions as surveys since they do attract more attention and publicity. He can take pleasure in the fact that he had 159 petitioners, exceeding Mr. Scoggins’ 44 plus or minus responders.