Letter: Urge a Return to Respectful Discourse

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To the Editor,

I have been a quiet observer of town politics for many years. I try to be informed, and I respect the roles of all our town servants. I am deeply disturbed that our town is once again being thrust into turmoil, with difficult issues being over-simplified, accusations hurled, and respect lacking. I urge my fellow townspeople to remember that the two people being vilified are both committed volunteers, giving their time and best efforts to serving this town. As are their attackers, also primarily volunteers who have put in long service to our residents.   

As I understand it:

  • Anne Landry suggested, and other SB members supported having public listening sessions at the outset of the search process for a new Police Chief.  
  • This did not happen. As far as I know, neither the Chair, the Vice Chair, nor the Town Manager charged with conducting this search, nor the rest of the Select Board, nor the Reading public at large raised this oversight.  
  • The Town Manager has laid out the search process in a document sent to the Select Board on January 31st. It has been a six-month, carefully conducted process, resulting in a candidate the Town Manager endorses. This is not an excessively long search period.

We need to rebuild our town together, going forward with new leadership at the police department. We should not be sinking into a swamp of recriminations for words spoken in haste, and equally hastily, regretted. The unfortunate lack of community input in the search process does not lie at one person’s door. I believe the calls for resignations, and the effort to launch a recall petition are unjustified and extremely divisive. I urge a return to respectful discourse, cooperative problem-solving, and calm in our community.  

Alice Collins
Mineral Street

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