Thursday, March 21

RULE OF LAW AND DUE PROCESS


 
 

If the BoS does actually hold a hearing to remove a finance committee member based on these false allegations it will set an important precedent for future policy. This would give the BoS the ability to manipulate the investigative powers of the finance committee. The finance committee or any of its members could be reluctant to examine particular issues or persons for fear of repercussions. Putting this power in the hands of the BoS would hamper the ability of the finance committee to do its duty. I have been making light of the situation, but it really is serious. These people believe that they can get away with this because they don’t think anyone has the guts to stand against them. I think they’re wrong. We have to ask ourselves what we are going to do about it. Are we going to just let it unfold or are we going to finally get outraged enough to do something about it.

At this point the BoS is planning to set up a bogus committee to remove an appointed finance committee member. Since at least two, out of this group of five, are the accusers it seems to be a bit biased; but you can decide. Since we the people direct the policy of the town, we should set up an equitable procedure for removing an appointed committee member; not an angry group of selectmen. If we do need a mechanism to remove a committee member for cause, then we should set it up correctly. The BoS or even the finance committee may need an independent panel to oversee this process; in case they ever do need to remove someone. A complaint would be filed and this panel could determine if the charges are legitimate and if removal is warranted. Then there should be an appeal process to keep the process fair for the accused. After all we are a country founded on the rule of law and due process.

I usually don’t do this since it is such an inconvenience to those being called. However, because this is such an important issue for the future of our town, I would like to ask you the people to weigh in on this matter. Most of you have read what I’ve written. You know I have never accused anyone of malfeasance. You know I have never slandered anyone. Yet these people went on the record accusing me of these things. There is no evidence in my writings to support their accusations; yet they keep chanting that I am guilty. Do they believe that if they keep repeating the mantra that it will somehow become true?

If you think the Selectmen are overstepping their bounds then I would ask you to call them and tell them unequivocally that they are wrong to remove a member in this manner. The process of checks and balances’ hangs in the balance. Call the town hall or email your selectmen and express your outrage over this abuse of power. The complete contact information can be found at this link http://egremont-ma.gov/contact.html. Telephone: (413) 528-0182 X 10. Fax : (413) 528-5465  If the calls are too many, Mary may put her phone on voice mail; if so just leave a message. If you get a busy signal it means there is a lot of outrage, so keep calling to express yours. I would also appreciate if you could express your support by leaving a comment in the comment section saying “I agree” or simply click reply to my email, express your support and it will be kept private. I thank you for your support.
KevinZurrin

6 comments:

  1. Kevin- The Town of Egremont Appointed Committee Handbook should be the guide. 2.8 of the Handbook covers "Other Termination," besides resignation or reappointment. It states "In rare circumstances such as continued, unexplained absences or conflict of interest, the appointing authority may ask for a member's resignation or, if necessary, revoke the appointment. Also, the appointment of a committee member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings may be considered for termination. Prompt, written notification to the committee member will be given in the event of such action." I don't read anywhere that disagreeing with the Selectboard is a reason for termination.
    I would suggest a call to the Attorney General's office for direction, as well as the Ethics Commission regarding conflict of interest of the two Selectmen on the "judging" committee.
    Lastly, Section D of the Town's Personnel Policy covers Disciplinary Procedures. A case can be made for committee members being employees.
    Don't stop! Stand up and fight.

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  2. Thank you one for the support two for the rules. I hope many stand with me. And I hope this is a turning point for the town. We the citizens have to take control of our town.

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  3. I Agree! I also think a lot of other people agree. I also think it might be helpful to hear from other people especially ones who are customers of the water company. It might also be good if we had the courage to not reply anonymously, that way they take our comments more seriously.

    Nick Fredsall

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  4. Kevin, in my mind you are enormously courageous. I am fully on the side of civility and transparency in government and if what I read is truly happening we have an enormous problem beyond the water department's fiscal state. I believe elected and appointed officials truly try to do what is best and that sometimes emotion can sway those intentions. Kevin's courage should remind us all that democracy is not a spectator sport. Thank you Kevin.
    Lucinda Vermeulen

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  5. I agree with Lucinda. We should all try to be there Monday to put a stop to this tyranny. It's time for some serious sweeping at town hall.

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  6. You can read more at my blog at www.egremont.blogspot.com.

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