$80,000 request for full-time Council on Aging director shot down at Wareham Town Meeting

By Matthew Bernat | Apr 24, 2018
Photo by: Andrew W. Griffith Council on Aging Director Missy Dziczek said town seniors aren't being properly served without a full-time director in place.

The Council on Aging will continue to operate under a part-time director after one resident’s effort to fund the position full-time was defeated at Town Meeting on Monday.

Frank Urciuoli, who moved to Onset in 2016, requested through a citizen’s petition that the town spend $80,000 to fund the position. Any voter can place an item on the Town Meeting agenda via petition by securing the signatures of 10 registered voters.

Urciuoli said he was motivated to seek the money after discovering that Wareham’s budget has no funds specifically dedicated for the Council on Aging. A variety of state and federal grants are used to fund some services. Council activities, which include meals, classes and more, are held in the basement of the Multi-Service Center on Marion Road.

“I think your parents, great-grandparents and the elderly couple living next door are worth that small amount,” said Urciuoli.

Town officials said there simply wasn’t any money left in the budget. Town Administrator Derek Sullivan noted that after voters defeated a measure in 2012 that would have raised taxes to fund town departments, the message was clear.

“We’ve heard from the town before that they don’t want to give us money for services such as this,” said Sullivan.

Current Director Missy Dziczek was hired in 2016 using funds from a one-year grant provided by the state. After the grant ended, she has remained working for the town part-time, roughly 10 hours a week. Sullivan said the arrangement, while not ideal, is working well for both Wareham and Dziczek, who has impressed the Council on Aging and those it serves.

At Town Meeting, Dziczek said a full-time director would be able to provide services not currently available.

“There is a whole lot we’re not doing,” she said. “We would be able to offer many more programs, get more grants and do a lot more than what we do now.”

Sullivan said residents and officials will have to explore other options for funding the position in a sustainable, affordable way.

Comments (19)
Posted by: Curiouscat | Apr 24, 2018 07:12

I hope the senior citizens remember this when you ask them to vote for a new school.  How sad this it.

Posted by: WWreader | Apr 24, 2018 08:00

I clearly recall that when we tried to pass the override, the COA would have been funded. Do you know who votes most in Wareham? Seniors and they voted against the override. It takes taxpayer dollars to fund a COA. Ours are all used up as you could see from the budget last night. Maybe next time we have an attempt at an override, people will vote in favor of funding the COA.

Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 24, 2018 13:00

Everyone wants to blame the seniors for not passing the override but NEVER have they asked why. It was more then "seniors" it was voters that turned down. The seniors did NOT  want to be used as unpaid babysitters in onset at yhe boys and girls club. But no one listened. And that wasn't the only item being voted on but those in charge weren' listening. And i don' think they are listening now, either.

Posted by: Rosebud | Apr 24, 2018 13:32

All of us pay taxes that support the schools, regardless of whether we have children or not.  I am for education, but personally don't think its right that such a high percentage of our money goes into our schools.  I feel strongly that parents should step up to the plate and start a non-profit tax-exempt organization whereby they can donate more money directly to the schools.  Further, if you have children you should be prepared to donate some time to the schools.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Apr 24, 2018 14:04

Rosebud are you kidding me right now? Who paid to educate you? The taxpayers, just like every other public school student. Education costs money. We don't invest enough in our students. You certainly don't sound like you are "all for education". Parents already pay taxes so why should they be responsible to further fund the schools?

Posted by: brazz | Apr 24, 2018 18:23

rosebud, that's a horrible idea. Sounds like people of Wareham are all looking out for themselves only while screwing their neighbors and communities. I'm hoping that with younger people moving into town these attitudes will change.

Posted by: WWareham resident | Apr 25, 2018 08:17

Brazz, younger couples with children will do everything they can to NOT move in to Wareham. The schools are among the worst in the area, property taxes are ridiculous for the complete lack of any services and if you do have children in the school system what's wrong with a non-profit organization that all monies donated would go to the schools?

My parents paid to send me to parochial school but still paid crazy high taxes in the town I grew up in and the public schools  at the time, were highly ranked in the State of New Jersey. My dad was a hard working blue collar guy and my mother also worked so we could get a better education. At what point are parents in these times, going to be more involved with their children's education? Only when the funds come out of everyone's pockets not their's?

We've been in West Wareham for 13 years and have seen our taxes jump over $2,000 from when we bought our home. We don't have children so we don't put any strain on the school budget and I don't complain that I'm paying for your children to go to school (assuming you have children of course). I would honestly think if parents are that concerned they should be more involved. If that's financial or time donation, either would most likely be a huge help. Just my  02¢

Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 25, 2018 08:57

I agree with Rosebud. The school gets 1/2 of the budget outright but it still gets partial funds from the town side also. At what point will it ever be enough. And comparing finances of other towns is part of the problem. We aren' them and we wont be them.

Posted by: thkng60@yahoo.com | Apr 25, 2018 10:30

Peaches, are you kidding me right now???? We don't invest enough in our kids??? Half the budget goes to schools, we don't have lifeguards anymore, we don't have trash pickup anymore, we don't have a parks department anymore,our coa is parttime, our library is barely certified. We're going to build more schools when some are barely 50 years old, zand buy box classrooms while we wait. I think we're doing plenty for our schools.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 25, 2018 11:17

The override which was rejected by the majority of voters who chose to go to the polls was for $4.5 million. The COA funding portion of that was only $100,000. People didn't happily vote against $100,000 for the COA, they just weren't given a choice to fund the COA unless they agreed to fund the additional $4.4 million that remained in the override.


Same thing happened to the Library, no one wanted to cut the Library's hours or for the Library to be decertified. Voters just weren't given a choice to vote only for funding for the Library, they were forced to swallow the rest of a $4.5 million override, if they wanted Library services to remain uncut.


Somebody gambled with (or held hostage) two very emotional funding issues, the Library and the COA, with the hope that emotions associated with those services would be strong enough to force passage of the $4.5 million override. Voters weighed their emotions, weighed what was at the time several years of less than stellar financial management letters indicating considerable town accounting issues and they voted against the override.


Recently the thought has been floated by some selectmen that an override would be considered again if there was a ground swell interest reflected in a petition with approximately 3000 signatures. At the same time we have the school building committee about to propose an $86 million school building project. My guess is the town won't vote for both. School building project funding will probably impact tax payers bills for 20 years. So if there is a potential for a groundswell, maybe it's time for someone who supports an override to start a petition. Then both the override and new school can be voted on next November. Maybe one would pass. Maybe they'd cancel each other out. Who knows?



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Apr 25, 2018 11:28

Peaches, we invest more than enough of taxpayer dollars in the education of students. I am almost 59 years old. Never mind a tax exempt organization to donate, how about PARENTS donating their time to their kids education, does not cost a penny, teach their kids to be respectful towards the teachers, make sure that nightly they check the homework to make sure it is complete, make sure the kids get to bed early so they have enough sleep to be ready to learn the next day. So far not a penny out of the parents pockets. If these things were done you would only need one teacher in a classroom, like I had. One Principal without any assistants, like I had. Test scores would rise, behavior issues would be reduced, and we could save money on educating kids today. Throwing more money at the problem will never solve it, as we have learned over the past 15-20 years. My daughter is a single parent, works full time, and spends at least an hour a night with Devin doing his homework, so far straight A's and he is in Kindergarten. And he knows when he is in school, he is to listen to the teacher and do as she says. Yes he does not get to play as many video games, and watch a bunch of TV during the week, but that's how it was when I was being educated. What's wrong with that?

Posted by: Rosebud | Apr 25, 2018 12:00

Uptohere, you said it better than I did!  The schools take most of our money, and things like services for seniors, road repairs, etc., come after that.  I am for education, but I'm for responsible spending and not throwing money at the schools every time they ask.

Posted by: Curiouscat | Apr 25, 2018 12:31

Steve, I agree with your posting.  Like you I had one principal without any assistants but back in the good old days I also had a stay at home mom who took care of the kids while dad worked to support us.  That was a huge difference.  Unfortunately today most families have to work and sometimes more than one job to keep things afloat.  Back in my day we respected our teachers but that is not the case anymore.  We were petrified if the principal called home even for a very minor thing but today most of the parents attitude is "not my kid".  It's sad.  I loved being in school when I was a kid (and yes Steve I'm in your age bracket) but things started going south when I was in high school.  In 11th grade one of my teachers was locked in the bathroom and beaten up by a bunch of girls from another town. 

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 25, 2018 12:33

Voting on financial items should be reserved to only property owners only. We are the ones paying the freight around here and should have the only say as to how its being spent. Just being a registered voter shouldn't give you the power to tax the people who do pay the bills.

Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 25, 2018 13:24

I like that idea !!!

That would curb some stacking.

Posted by: Just Me1 | Apr 26, 2018 08:46

These are all great comments, but I think many have forgotten the purpose of government (at least as I was taught many years ago). That is, to provide necessary services for the community that individuals cannot provide for themselves. Roads and schools are among the most common examples. I have always viewed this as "needs" rather than "wants", and I will admit that the system has been adjusted so much that it's just a grab-bag for wants, now. For example, schools. I do not see it as an issue of spending more or spending less; I see it as an issue of spending wisely.  Put the money to better use and get better returns. Not dog parks and bike paths - maybe some positive programs and part-time employment where the youth can learn some "old-time work ethic". What is the point of the International Baccalaureate program if the younger children can't read?

Why expand services and programs when existing programs and infrastructure are not supported or maintained?

Posted by: Curiouscat | Apr 26, 2018 18:39

Here's an interesting fact.  For fiscal 2017 the Mass lottery gave the town of Wareham (according to their website) $1,902,369 and it says "lottery funds are not earmarked for any specific program allowing cities and towns to choose how to spend their funds".  This money could have kept Minot open and paid for a COA director.  I wonder how these funds are actually distributed............

Posted by: bob | Apr 27, 2018 11:35

Great point CURIOUSCAT,but i'm sure they will tell you it goes in the general spending account,and they keep saying to blame our town problems on PROP 2/1/2.....

Posted by: sadie | Apr 27, 2018 17:04

curiouscat you can always ask the town how the money is spent

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