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Kelley steps down as budget committee chair


September 10, 2020
LITTLETON — After serving nearly a quarter-century as the chairman of the Littleton budget committee, Steve Kelley handed the torch to vice-chair Diane Cummings last week. He remains an active committee member.

Kelley opened the season's first budget meeting by nominating Cummings. Dan Stearns became the committee's new vice-chair.

"Diane has a long and strong history in Littleton, having served on the school board for many years. You can recruit a lot of sound business people for the budget committee, but the school district has a different set of parameters," explained Kelley.

Cummings has been the group's vice-chair for the last five to six years, said Kelley, adding "She's done some work on a lot of things and I thought it was appropriate at this time that she takes over the position as chairman. My intention is to continue to serve on the committee."

"I think the budget committee a crucial component of the Town of Littleton. It makes a difference that we have a cohesive plan pulled together that has a good chance of getting community support when we get to the town meeting at the end of the year," stated Kelley.

Although he can't remember what year he became the committee chair, Kelley said he was first recruited in 1991 by George Hicks. Unlike the Select Board and other town organizations, the budget committee has historically had no plans for rotating chairpersons.

"It's not a bad idea to have a new look on occasion. In this case, Diane has a long and storied track record in community involvement both on the school and town sides. She understands things very well and knows how to ask tough questions. I think she will bear outstanding leadership," stated the committee member.

Kelley discussed the challenges and rewards of serving on a budget committee and said the first year is the equivalent of a college course.

He explained, "Until you learn how things operate, you cannot effectively address issues. That is the first challenge."

"The second challenge is that there are a lot of parameters on both the school and town side that are mandated by laws that don't exist in private business. You need to understand the general constraints and what can or cannot be done within those constraints to make for a better community in Littleton," added Kelley.

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