Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Small Town News - Vote on Planning & Zoning Chair

I was at the most infuriating town meeting last night. As you may recall, the town had voted twice against the P & Z chair being on this commission since there is an ordinance precluding town employees from being on the P & Z and Wetlands commissions and the Chair is an employee of the town. However, he has continued in that capacity since then, as Joe, our first selectman of 17 years, arrogantly ignored the wishes of the town. Well, his term was up on December 1, and there was a vote last night on whether to confirm him again.

Joe turned out all of his cronies and we called out as many of our members as we could. But this is the third vote on this issue and folks are beginning to give up. Sean had written a letter to Joe earlier in the day pointing out how what was being done was not in line with the ordinance and mentioning that a motion was going to be made at the meeting. However, shortly after the meeting started, Ricky, one of the selectmen that everybody hates, piped up with a motion to approve the slate as proposed, before we could make our motion. There were cries of protest and frustrated motions being flung, but it was too late. The vote was held and the P & Z chair was confirmed until 2009 by a vote of 44 to 21.

Add to that that earlier one of our citizen group members, who is the eloquent architect, was tossed off the economic commission for voting against the Cumberland Farms project and publicly chided by Ricky, and you have a perfect evening. The architect had produced a wonderful village plan, but taken heat for doing so from the P & Z chair, because the town development plan was not complete and village plan was supposed to be done after. You know, the development plan needed for the land swap that the public is not trusted to see. So there this architect stood giving Joe a well deserved piece of his mind.

I piped up and said, "I don't understand how after two town votes to remove the chair he has just been voted back in against this ordinance, yet you have no place for this gentleman here on the P& Z."

Joe sputtered something about the ordinance not being legal and said that there was no spot open, and when there was he thought he needed another woman. I elbowed the architect and said something like, guess it's time to reconsider that sex change.

The architect said, "Oh, so it's all about gender balance?"

Joe shrugged.

I said, "I think there are too many women and old men on the P & Z."

Then Sean came up to yank me away as they were trying to close town hall.

At least before the meeting I had a nice visit with Sean's nephew and his family who showed up to vote. Even though they live in town, we don't get to see them nearly enough. Sean's nephew was stationed in Afghanistan for way too long. But he is back safe and sound now. Focus on the positive.

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