standing Letters

Councilor Carney recently wrote, “actions always speak louder than words.” I ask, however, “If actions speak louder than words, why do we automatically believe the words that come out of a person’s mouth?”

Charlestown Town Councilor Carney’s statements that her fellow councilors, duly elected by voters, have repeatedly refused to place items on agendas and, further, that these councilors have abused their power are simply not true.

Here are the facts regarding the items cited by Councilor Carney:

Establishing a fund balance policy — This item appeared on a Town Council agenda and was discussed at length. The council voted to task the town’s experts with drafting a well-considered fund balance policy. The drafting of the policy is well underway and will include consideration of an in-depth study of risks facing Charlestown by the respected Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

Expanding electricity to the new pavilion at Ninigret Park — This item also appeared on a Town Council agenda, and the council voted to connect electricity to the new pavilion in Ninigret Park, for the small concerts that the Parks and Recreation Department puts on in the summer.

Using lights for the Chariho Cowboys — The item was on the Town Council agenda when the Chariho Cowboys and their supporters attended the council meeting. The council voted to allow the Chariho Cowboys to use temporary lights on Puchalski Field behind the Town Hall for the remainder of their 2019 season.

Installing fencing around the basketball court at Ninigret Park — This item also appeared on a Town Council agenda, and the Town Council voted to move this item to the agenda for its October meeting where the item will be discussed as part of the normal budgeting process.

Councilor Carney is incorrect when she states that there is a “rule” which dictates how the Charlestown Town Council must construct its agendas. There is no requirement that any item brought forward by a town councilor must be put on the agenda. The council may consider whether other items need immediate attention, whether an item is ready for discussion or whether it needs further research, and whether the item can be better addressed in another way, such as administratively.

Further, Councilor Carney’s assertions that the Town Council majority is abusing its power are bogus. Individuals endorsed by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance and elected by Charlestown’s voters have delivered on their pledges of open government, transparency and inclusion with their actions (and their words) for the past 15 years.

Whether words or actions speak louder becomes an issue only when one’s words do not line up with one’s actions, or with reality. Because Councilor Carney’s words often do not line up, the next question must be, why not? One must look to her intentions for the answer, a question only she can answer.

Bonnie Van Slyke


The author is a member of the Charlestown Town Council.

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