Letters: Thanks to those who voted on Shaftsbury garage
I would like to thank all Shaftsbury’s voters for voting on a bond for a new garage and site. I didn’t try to get people angry. I just wanted to be sure voters knew the site was at an old dump.
It must be beat-up Kenny Harrington month. The rudeness and hollering at him for having a different viewpoint.
I would like to see a vote in March to purchase the former Shea property next to the current garage for a new garage.
I have been called a liar, that the site was not available. But I do have a signing contract holding the land until after the town vote.
The price is $110,000, not the $150,000 it was on the market for.
Again, I don’t want to fight or argue, I would just like to see a March vote.
Over all the years I have served on so many different boards. I don’t think the towns (all of them) so such rudeness and disrespect to the public.
I believe this is why people don’t attend meetings.
Find peace. May God bless.
Shaftsbury About the garage vote
At the Dec. 16 meeting of the Shaftsbury Selectboard, information was brought forward concerning the location of the proposed town garage, and particularly its adjoining neighbor. The property abutting the location of the town garage is owned by Ken Harrington, Selectboard member and member of the Garage Committee. It seems that this information was not publicly disclosed during the planning process, nor before the final vote. Mr. Harrington made it clear to two townspeople at the meeting that asked about it that his reason for speaking out against the town garage was because of the $400,000 interest (his words) and that it was supported by another Selectboard member. To be clear, of course, it doesn’t seem that Mr. Harrington had a problem with the interest alone, which was known ahead of time, but rather in conjunction with the raising of the school taxes. Setting that aside, regardless of the reason for his outspokenness, it certainly calls into question the integrity of a Selectboard member who has a direct financial interest in a project and in the months of negotiations, to my knowledge, never sees fit to mention it publicly. Ms. Mellinger seemed to recognize the impropriety of the perceived conflict of interest, stating that veteran board members should have alerted Mr. Harrington of his need to speak forth about it.
Mr. Harrington’s only other defense of his lapse of judgment was that he had said, on the record, when the conflict of interest policy was put forward that it would affect him directly since he planned to bid on a number of projects. First of all, if he has such a direct interest in so many town projects, then perhaps it’s inappropriate to serve as a Selectboard member, since many projects that he bids on or could have bid on will directly affect him financially. Second, stating that there will be future conflicts of interest is interesting, but is not a defense.
To be clear, I take his fellow Selectboard members at their word that Mr. Harrington was solely concerned about the cost of this project. Not because of his financial interest (abutting property) should he necessarily have recused himself. But to not state to the public the conflict of interest, and to suggest that there was a perceived conflict of interest is "just not rational" (his words), again calls into question his judgment. Had the voters known this ahead of time, it certainly may have changed their perception of his "No" vote, and may have changed the overall outcome of the garage vote.
Townspeople have to wonder, going forward on each Selectboard vote, what other conflicts of interest Mr. Harrington may selectively forget to mention.
JARED DELLA ROCA
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