Among Monday’s letters in The Westerly Sun was a brief letter from George Tremblay in response to my earlier Sept. 14 letter about the recent behavior of the Charlestown Town Council as applied to filling a vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Commission. In his letter he makes two points.
First, Mr. Tremblay notes that Jodi Frank and I are affiliated through a political action committee. Apart from this having absolutely nothing to do with the issues I raised in my letter, our affiliation is public knowledge and well-known. We are both officers in Charlestown Residents United (CRU), as is clearly noted on our website. In fact, CRU was formed precisely because members of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA), with which Mr. Tremblay is affiliated, controlled all governing bodies in Charlestown, including the Town Council, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Planning Committee, and others. CCA then supported changes and policies in Charlestown that did not consider the wishes and needs of all residents but seemed to favor a few members and those who donate to them. This bias toward their supporters was evidenced in the selection of the replacement on the Parks and Recreation Commission, which was the issue addressed in my letter.
Second, Mr. Tremblay suggests that by Ms. Frank contracting with the town she is disqualified from serving on any board, commission, or council helping to govern Charlestown. As my previous letter described, this conclusion is not only not supported by any rule or regulation, but served as a deceitful pretext to eliminate Ms. Frank from consideration. CCA was so desperate to avoid appointing her to the Commission that they ignored their own rule that requires the best qualified applicant to be appointed regardless of political affiliation. They also forgot that Ms. Frank served on the commission in the past while working for the town and they had no problem with Cody Clarkin working as a Parks and Recreation manager while serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission. I have no intent to cause Mr. Clarkin to lose either his employment or his role on the Parks and Recreation Commission. In fact, I have no problem with his doing both, nor should the council have a problem with Ms. Frank doing both. It is significant that when it was suggested that the council delay filling the vacancy for one month to give the town solicitor time to determine if there were any impediments to employees or contractors serving on the Commission and to give Ms. Frank time to decide if she wished to resign working for the town, the CCA members were so anxious to get their candidate on the commission that they refused to even second Ms. Carney’s motion to delay the appointment.
So once again we are faced with a CCA-dominated Town Council pushing their agenda ahead of the needs of the citizens of Charlestown. Please remember efforts such as these when November 2020 comes around.
Dr. Kenneth Robbins
This letter was published in The Westerly Sun on September 27.