To the editor:

Your front page Nov. 12 article on vacant town posts caused me to wonder if there may be a systemic issue involved, particularly since I had such a positive experience with Building Commissioner Barry Ringler in August of this year when he most professionally, quickly and thoroughly responded to my complaint about the installation of a lighted outside professional-like basketball court at the back of 4 Kingsbury Lane closely abutting Faxon street properties and causing neighborhood angst about noise and diminished property values.

Mr. Ringler personally inspected the properties, and was kind enough to provide the details of town policies which, unfortunately, allowed the construction involved.

I was left with an impression that the installation was nevertheless questionable and that the town manager was averse to changing anything. So, his “abrupt departure which revives…..a revolving door scenario atop the inspection department” is a cause for concern, especially with it being “just one of several hiring challenges facing the town.”

It occurs to me that a reason for the challenges may be the school department-centric nature of town priorities wherein it appears to me said department enjoys a misguided carte blanche mode of operating and budgeting, perhaps at the expense of other town priorities.

I have long been convinced of a bloated and exorbitantly paid senior school administrative bureaucracy whose effectiveness is questionable, and of scant opposition or challenges to departmental funding requests. It often seems like the town exists to support the school system, and that other town needs and concerns go unmet or unaddressed as a result, along with annual property tax increases.

I am told my view is a “hardy perennial” shared by many residents. Perhaps now is the time then to seriously address what may be a prioritization imbalance which could help to ameliorate the departmental hiring challenges noted in your article. I also believe the town manager, as skilled and professional as he may be, should emphasize the managerial — vice political — aspects of his position to personally and thoroughly examine the extent to which school department priorities adversely effect other town programs and operations; and, may I suggest the board of selectmen be intimately involved as well.

Francis P. Keough, Foxboro