Friday, March 23, 2018 01:35

No Public Comment – Citizens Silenced

While it’s my understanding that under MGL local boards don’t have to allow public comment, it’s certainly very unusual in nearly all communities in the Commonwealth to not do so.

I’ll put on my “Former Selectman’s” hat and tell you that in my three years on the board, public comment was never disallowed. Year one, Mark Elworthy was Chairman and to his credit he let anyone who came before the board talk. When they got off the subject at hand he’d call them on it. Year two had Mr. Mendoza as Chairman and he allowed public comment as well. Both of these Chairmen had public comment at the end of the meetings The third and final year Bob Pasquale was Chairman and he not only allowed public comment but moved it to the beginning of the Selectmens meeting so that citizens who came to speak wouldn’t have to sit through hours of business and would be able to have their voices heard.

Fast forward to the present. Chairman Kevin Haley first moved public comment back to the end of the meeting, then treated Gloria Parkinson rudely on a night she came to be heard on the pending Rauscher Farm closing.

What happened next is in my opinion the most ridiculous thing that could have been done. He let a proponent of the vindictive (self proclaimed at that) citizens petition to change the Fire Chief position to weak chief speak, as he was some sort of spokesman for it. This article wasn’t sponsored by the Selectmen and they had no need for a proponent to speak for it. (No one against it was given equal time!) This person called Bob Pasquale and I buffoons while speaking about the petition. Now I don’t really care if some ally of Chairman Haley called me a buffoon, I actually wear that as a badge of honor as I would characterize my thinking as polar opposite of Chairman Haley. The meeting came to the end and instead of public comment Chairman Haley asked for a motion to adjourn which was offered by Selectman Dickhaut. Under discussion Selectman Fiorentino asked when public comment was. Haley said there was none and the board voted 4-1 with Tony Fiorentino voting no.

This board had a golden opportunity that night, they could have voted not to adjourn and made a motion to allow public comment. But instead they went along with our tyrannical Chairman.

The latest is that Haley has an agenda item for the next meeting on July 16th to possibly do away with public comment altogether – or limit it at best.

I hope people turn out in droves to protest this Un-American act aimed at censoring “we the people”. I’d say Mr. Haley doesn’t want any people speaking during public comment that may happen to oppose his agenda. I also hope that for the good of Clinton that other three Selectmen have the common sense to not let this travesty happen.

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2 Responses to “No Public Comment – Citizens Silenced”

  1. Greg Stahl says:

    It seems that I’m going to be in a foot race with several others to pull papers to recall the person that makes a motion to eliminate public comment, as well as those that vote to approve those approving of this motion.

    I have had several emails challenging me to be the first in line to Town Hall to do this. So I say,, BRING IT ON, I’m ready and willing to fight this right to public opinion to the end. So Mr. Haley, the line has been drawn in the sand, and I’m throwing sand in your face. Democracy does not silence those that are not elected by the majority, but it does bring forth those of strong minds.

  2. Mariah says:

    Rock On…Seems like Haley has “felt the wrath” of the concerned citizens of Clinton and has “allowed” public comment at the end of each BOS meeting..Not exactly a great win, but a win none the less..

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