The Oak Bluffs 2012 annual report has won first place in the statewide town report contest.
At a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, office administrator Alice Butler was commended for her efforts to polish the report each year. “This is not the first time,” said selectman Gail Barmakian over the enthusiastic applause of the board.
Ms. Butler, who coordinates and edits the report, will attend the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association in January, where she will accept the award on behalf of the town.
Town reports are required by law, and are published each year at annual town meeting time. The statewide contest is voluntary, and awards first, second and third place to towns in three size categories. Oak Bluffs is in the category for towns with a population under 5,000.
“We’ve won several times over the last couple of years,” Ms. Butler said, adding that she pays more attention to improving the next year’s report than recording the specific dates of first place winnings.
Of course, there’s not much time for the 19-year veteran of the selectmen’s office to rest on her laurels. The 2013 report is due in April, which gives Ms. Butler about four and a half months to persuade each department to submit their reports on time.
Improving the report from year to year is a challenge, she said. She pays particular attention to the cover photograph, and making sure the department sections are concise and grammatically correct. “I do some editing to make sure people have said what they meant to say,” she said.
The cover illustration on the 2012 winning town report is a photograph of the famous Camp Ground cottage Summertime, taken by town resident and artist Judith Catlow Williamson.
The report includes a chapter dedicated to the selectmen’s strategic plan for the town, which was a new addition.