At its meeting held on June 9 Charlestown Town Council president Tom Gentz went to extremes questioning Mr. Kenneth J. Burke, P.E. MBA, General Manager/Treasurer of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board regarding the state’s purchase of private land on Genwood Drive as the potential site of a public potable water supply source.
Mr. Gentz’s arrogant behavior not only was a disgraceful embarrassment to the town, his efforts to inject the town into the details of a private purchase and sales agreement or to stop it all together sets a very dangerous precedent.
The proposed sale of the property on Genwood Drive to the state’s Water Resources Board is a private transaction that does not involve the town.
The reaction of Gentz and his Charlestown Citizens Alliance colleagues to the proposed sale should serve as a powerful warning to the rest of the taxpayers and voters of Charlestown. If Ruth Platner, Chair of the town’s planning commission, and the alliance do not like the sale of private property to a willing buyer they will use the power of the town to try and stop it.
That is an abuse of power! Where does the town get its legal standing to get involved in the sale of private property? The Glista family has the legal right to sell the land to anyone that is willing to buy it without interference from the town.
Mr. Burke made it very clear that the state has no intentions of developing the property and simply intends to hold it in reserve for future use should the town ever need a potable water source. If that time ever comes to pass then it will be subject to review by the pertinent boards and commissions of the town.
The people of Charlestown had better ask themselves this question: If I decide to sell my house or property to someone that the Town Council and its Charlestown Citizens Alliance handlers don’t approve of, will I be subjected to the same sort of interference by the Town Council?
The answer is that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance and its minions in town government believe that they are absolute and its interference into the sale of this piece of private property proves it.
James M. Mageau