TO THE EDITOR:
To the members of the Board of Selectmen:
In more than 20 years of elected service on Town Boards and Commissions, including the Police Commission, the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Special Committee on Town-to-Town Partnership and the Library Board, I have never seen as clear and egregious breach of the Town Charter’s Ethics clause than the decision to permit Selectwoman Jenner to participate in a vote on handling a complaint of which she is the subject.
The Town Charter is quite clear that an individual must recuse him or herself from any matter in which he or she is personally involved. Her vote to table the matter of a complaint against her own public behavior is wrong and the matter should be reconsidered and the initial vote voided.
The vote itself to table the matter of the union complaint runs against every argument for openness and transparency in government. When an elected official makes a critical statement in public against an employee of the Town, it defies logic and fairness for the elected Board of Selectmen to consider the matter in private.
As we all know, the rules for what may and may not be considered in Executive Session are quite clear. The vote therefore appears, whether intended or not, to be an attempt to hide the matter from the public. The vote will also unnecessarily place the Town in the position of defending itself should the union pursue the matter, as it is likely to do. It is a financial cost the Town should not have to absorb, but the action of two Selectmen has made that a strong likelihood.
There are very few things that would get me this worked up, let alone cause me to write a letter to the Board. I recognize that, as volunteers, we are all attempting to do what’s best for the Town. However, the errors of judgment in this action are so blatant that I am compelled to express my opinion and to say you should have done, and still can do, better.
— David Muller
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