Despite the Charlestown Citizens Alliance having a 3-2 majority on the Town Council, effectively blocking efforts by councilors supported by Charlestown Residents United to respond to and support the interests of all the citizens of Charlestown, CCA still persists in trying to find new ways to thwart those efforts, especially those advanced by Council President Deb Carney. For example, when the annual review of the town administrator was discussed, Councilor Carney presented some reasonable concerns with his actions. Those concerns were not refuted. Yet the CCA members tried twice (at the July and August meetings) to delete those comments from the meeting’s minutes. When were comments entered into any groups’ minutes deleted by the majority because they did not like what was said?
As another example, knowing that Councilor Carney has an active role in the operation of her family’s business, CCA voted to move the meetings from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m., effectively preventing Councilor Carney (not to mention working members of the public) from attending. Instead of accommodating all elected leaders of our community and the public to allow their attendance at town meetings, CCA set up a situation where only their members could easily attend. Their argument that evening meetings were an imposition on the town staff that had to stay late to support the meetings rings hollow. Not only have the meetings been in the evening for many years, but anyone accepting a position in town government does so knowing that there will be times when they must work outside of the 9-to-5, 5-days-a-week time frame. If they did not wish to do that, they could not have accepted the job. It was only after a heated exchange, even involving citizens in attendance, that the CCA councilors agreed to a 5:30 p.m. compromise. It is still far from ideal but was the best that could be attained. Notably, town staff will still have to stay late. Why is the CCA so afraid of councilors and citizens who might disagree with them attending council meetings?
Unfortunately, we have more than a year left before those who really support open and transparent town government can hopefully become the majority voice. Meanwhile I urge all citizens to make their opinions and wishes known to all council members. CRU, and the councilors it supports, will continue to work to attain that goal.
Kenneth M. Robbins