Letter: The Time She has Given to the Town of Reading

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Given the misinformation I have seen being spread through various platforms, I felt compelled to write this letter. As an elected volunteer, I put in hours of preparation to be ready for meetings and to perform my duties. This same commitment to preparedness as well as a never-ending dedication to serving the community to one’s greatest ability can easily be seen in Ms. Alvarado’s time as an elected volunteer on the Reading Select Board. 

Speaking to the misinformation, claims made by Mr. Halsey that there was a “delay” in the vote for the new police chief, was instead allowing time for the entire board to have a chance to prepare for their vote on a vital position in our community. A memo from the Town Manager that contained his choice for police chief was not provided to the full board until Friday, January 31, a day that the town hall was closed. Before receiving this memo, the agenda for the February 4 meeting was already set and posted. With this in mind, Ms. Alvarado made the sensible decision to schedule the discussion regarding the police chief position for the February 11 meeting agenda. This gave all the Select Board members the opportunity to be adequately prepared. The Town Manager set the search process for the police chief. It sought to include multiple representatives of the community, as it should and is recommended for such a critical position. The Select Board was able to discuss the position on February 11, and community input was given on February 19, at which time, the Select Board had the information they needed, and a vote to confirm was taken.

 There was no delay in the timeframe. The Town Manager designed a clear and thorough process to allow the right person to become the new Chief of Police, a process Ms. Alvarado followed. Ms. Alvarado stood up to enable her fellow residents to be heard and be informed prior to a decision on an essential role in our community being chosen. This is something we should all applaud and encourage in our elected volunteers, after all, it is highly recommended in the manual the Town Manager used to guide his search process. It would have been easy to give in to the relentless pressure Mr. Halsey put on the chair on February 4 and voted without the Select Board discussion and public input session being held. However, Ms. Alvarado knew that would have been a disservice to every member of this community. If this supposed violation by Ms. Alvarado had truly occurred, why has the Town Council not given any input like they did when Mr. Arena broke the Town Charter, the very same person who submitted the petition to recall? Is this the person we should be looking at to tell us when an elected volunteer is in the right?  

It takes commitment to hold an elected volunteer position, and Ms. Alvarado has shown a deep respect to maintain that level of responsibility and commitment for the job. That is why I am voting NO on the recall.

John Parks
School Committee Member
Hancock Street

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