The Town Council investigated two Planning Board members for a possible violation the town’s ethics code on March 20th. The end result was “a motion to terminate the inquiry based upon the lack of finding a violation of the ethics ordinance”.
Prior to the investigation Councilor Dolan read the following statement:
Several accusatory and disparaging comments have and are being made (in some cases by several of you sitting in this room tonight apparently prejudging the motivation of the Town Council). Some examples of documented comments are as follows:
- Something doesn’t smell right here.
- It is a smear before the polls open.
- There may be a rat.
- What is the motivation of this Town Council to go public with this? The only I can think of is to affect the vote…
- Leave it to Town Council to try and disparage two Town Council candidates.
- This is a deliberate smear campaign to the tenth degree by John Ferrell and our Town Council.
- Let’s look at the developer and the relationship he has with our town officials.
- I think this happening before the election is way beyond fishy.
- Can you say set-up?
- Sounds like someone is in the pocket of the developers.
These comments indicate that some citizens suspect some evil intent to rig the election, to influence a development in favor of the developers, and in fact presume some illegal collusion with developers. Several of the accusations suggest crimes are being committed by the Council. I understand that speculating is part of human nature, but I caution you to allow this investigation to complete. While on the internet I found an interesting story I wanted to offer to you to think about.
Once upon a time, an old man spread rumors that his young neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later, he was proven innocent. After being released. He sued the old man for wrongly accusing him. In court, the old man told the judge: “Hey, they were just comments, they didn’t hurt anyone.” The judge, before issuing sentence on the case, told the old man: “write all the things you said about him on a piece of paper. Then, cut it up into little pieces and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out the car window. Tomorrow, come back to hear your sentence.” The next day the judge told the old man: “Before receiving your sentence, I want you to go out and gather up all the pieces of paper that you threw out the window yesterday.” The old man said, “I can’t do that! The wind spread them all over the place and I won’t know where to find them.” Then the judge replied, “The same way, simple words and comments may destroy honor of a person to such an extent that a person will not be able to fix it. If you can’t speak well of someone, don’t say anything at all. Let’s all be masters of our mouths, so that we won’t be slaves of our words. Gossips are worse that thieves because they steal another person’s dignity, honor, reputation and credibility which are impossible to restore. So remember this: when your feet slip, you can always recover your balance but when your tongue slips, you can never recover your words!”
So let me address some of the sentiment that is apparently brewing: There is suggestion that the Council is in the so-called back pocket of the developers. Personally, I have never met the developers or even know their names. And the Council recently authorized that the developers be approached by the town to see if they would be willing to accept a cash offer from the town to buy the land which would in effect stop the development.
There is also suggestion that the Council is interfering in the election. Here’s a fact: We had a massive winter storm that resulted in the two moderators postponing the election. Had that not happened, this matter would have taken place entirely after the election was concluded. We are now in the possession of important information that has potential implications to the proper execution of Planning Board members’ responsibilities. We are here tonight without prejudging the issue. We are here to investigate as our rules and laws require us to. And to hopefully put this matter to rest. I am here with an open mind and I hope you are too.
End of statement.