The special town meeting is upon us and conspicuously absent from the warrant is the article to raise and appropriate funds to support two chiefs of police. This BoS in their infinite wisdom, or lack thereof, decided that to ask the town for $42,000.00 to fund this interim chief fiasco would create too much controversy. Instead they decided fund this interim chief position with their own money. Well the money is not really theirs, it is ours; but they don’t care as long as you don’t squawk about it. These three louts found some monies in a little known slush fund and plan to use it to fund their interim chief without consulting the finance committee or the town. Hey, isn't this the money they accused chief Bucknell of mismanaging? Oh, but it’s quite alright for them to mismanage it? It’s time to stand up and be counted!
You may remember back in April there was an article titled The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost; http://eyeonegremont.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-chickens-are-coming-home-to-roost.htmlhttp://eyeonegremont.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-chickens-are-coming-home-to-roost.html I’m going to remind you of some of the things that were said. “We were all warned that when the Board of Selectmen illegally removed a finance committee member it would weaken the finance committee”. Apparently this BoS feel that they no longer have to consult anyone to spend $42,000.00 of the towns’ money. May I remind you that the Finance Committee was put in place to keep a check and balance the town officials spending practices? It was said that all expenditures would have to be reviewed by the finance committee. This expenditure of $42,000.00 on the part of the BoS circumvents the very system that was put in place to protect the town against this misspending problem. It’s time to stand up and be counted!
May I also remind you it was said “Chairman Turner wasted no time exerting his newly usurped authority. When Laura was explaining why she thought the Finance committee did have oversight of the account Chairman Turner cut her off in mid sentence and said the Finance Committee had absolutely no say in any matter regarding this account”? This BoS has no compunction about usurping authority when they want to take any action. The use of this account for the purpose of paying a second chief of police $42,000.00 of the towns money is an obvious abuse of authority on the part of the BoS; but these three don’t care how much they have to abuse their authority to reach their end goal. It’s time to stand up and be counted!
Another comment was on the power of the people. It was said “However, all is not lost. While the BoS are getting intoxicated with their newly usurped power they fail to recognize one thing; we the people have the power to stop them in their tracks”. Notice that when a large group of citizens were present for the various hearings held to deal with the Chief Bucknell issue, the BoS didn't have the guts to fire her outright; instead they had to meet in secret and neutralize her without actually dealing with the issue. This BoS created yet another way to circumvent the policies and procedures by keeping her on the payroll and not allowing her to do her job. Now we’ll have two chiefs on the payroll; one who is working part time and one who doesn't have to work at all. The irony is that the chief who is not working at all wants to work and the part time chief is working for another town and hoping that he will become the full time chief when the chiefs’ position opens up. Essentially the interim chief is in a very well paid holding pattern until the position opens up. It’s time to stand up and be counted!
One final reminder of what was said in this article. “You see my friends; because there are so few active citizens to answer to, the BoS have forgotten that the people have control. The people have to remind the BoS that they serve at the pleasure of the citizens of Egremont". When I said This BoS were intoxicated with their newly usurped power I thought I was exaggerating a bit, but when we see how this BoS abuses their authority, ignores the safeguards that were put in place to protect the people and thumbs their nose at the citizens who dare to show up at the meetings I’m beginning to think that I understated the intoxication that this BoS is under. It’s time to stand up and be counted!
We do have the power to stop this BoS from ruining this town but we have to get off our asses and rein them in. Just because they were elected does not mean that they have the authority to do whatever they want. The money in this so called slush fund, that the chief was accused of amassing, is not the BoS's to do with as they please. THIS IS THE TOWN’S MONEY! How dare this BoS presume to spend $42,000.00 of this fund, which was given to the town as a grant for specific purposes, to cover up their debacle? I don’t even know if it is legal for the town to keep the money let alone misappropriate it to pay for an interim police chief. Even if the town can legally keep the grant money shouldn't it go into free cash where the town can vote to spend it on things that the town really needs or to lower the tax rate? This BoS has to be put in its place and we have to do it. This Special Town Meeting coming up on Sept 30th can be the perfect place to do it. IT’S TIME TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!