Letter: A Time to Recall, Replace, and Restore

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“I solemnly swear that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as a member of the Town of Reading Board of Selectmen, according to the best of my ability and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to the Charter and Bylaws of the Town of Reading, so help me God.”

Sound familiar? On April 12, 2018, Ms. Alvarado publicly proclaimed these hallowed words in her oath of office, with her left hand on the Town’s Holy Bible and her right hand raised, in the presence of the Town Clerk, town officials, and residents. As a Select Board member and former chair, she has repeatedly broken the bond of trust she promised to uphold in her oath. In multiple instances, Ms. Alvarado has been neither impartial nor faithful in discharging her duties and has defiled her solemn promise to perform these duties according to the Town’s Home Rule Charter and Bylaws. Dishonoring a sacred oath by a public official is not a “petty” offense.

Evidence of Ms. Alvarado’s true character became apparent the evening before a town-wide election on April 3, 2018. Barrows parents reported she had accessed their email addresses for the sole purpose of soliciting votes. They informed me of her political interference and objected to her willful appropriation of email contacts. In this instance, Ms. Alvarado engaged in an unethical practice that foreshadowed a pattern of questionable behavior unlike anything Reading has ever experienced. 

More recently, Ms. Alvarado violated the oath she had publicly taken to “perform her duties… agreeably to the Charter and the Bylaws of the Town of Reading.” Although she willingly met with a Town Meeting member to discuss the importance of following the Charter, Ms. Alvarado subsequently violated this document several times. Contrary to the stipulations in the Charter, she collaborated with the previous chair, Mr. Friedmann, to circumvent the Charter by appointing two non-Reading residents to a town ad hoc committee resulting in a $10,000 cost to Reading taxpayers for Town Counsel legal services. At this time, she is still supporting discussions to allow non-Reading residents to be nominated, placed on boards and committees, and cast votes all Reading residents will be required to follow. This is unprecedented, unsupported, and forbidden by our Charter. Her disavowal of her sacred oath reveals character failings that should concern every resident.  

 Once again, Ms. Alvarado’s character and motivations raise questions because of her unjustified involvement in the Police Chief selection process. After Ms. Landry was removed as liaison to the selection committee, Ms. Alvarado inserted herself into the process. The Town Charter gives all responsibilities for the ranking and final candidate selection solely to the Town Manager devoid of any SB member’s influence. The Board’s role is simply to approve or deny. 

Then, during the 2/11 SB meeting when Mr. Halsey presented verifiable proof of her deliberate inaction and interference by delaying the Police Chief vote, she impugned his integrity by publicly accusing him of lies and inaccuracies, violating Select Board Policy 1.2.7, Rule 4. Board members Dockser and Landry both acknowledged that the SB had failed. However, Ms. Alvarado would not acknowledge her failings even though it is documented fact that she hindered the process and delayed the vote for 21 weeks (fortherecall.com). The evidence of her public display of dishonesty and verbal attacks against Mr. Halsey is indisputable. Ms. Alvarado was forced to schedule a final vote only after our Police Officers walked out of the meeting and this shameful incident appeared in the national news. Reading can no longer tolerate a meddler and divider; she must be recalled and replaced with a mediator and unifier John R. Halsey. 

Ms. Alvarado revealed another egregious failing in delaying the Town Manager’s annual review 4 months beyond his contractually committed date. This was a serious breach in the conditions that the Town had committed to the TM. Vanessa Alvarado’s pattern to obstruct and delay illustrates her disrespect and indifference to the rule of law. She must be held accountable and recalled; she lacks the temperament, the moral character, and the heart to do what is best for ALL the residents of our beautiful Town.

I respectfully call on all residents to vote for the recall and replace Ms. Alvarado with John R. Halsey, a public servant who will actually serve the people with integrity, and honor his solemn oath to uphold the Town’s Charter and Bylaws. John Halsey possesses the perfect combination of heart and mind – he will restore Reading’s reputation as a cohesive, caring, and welcoming community.    

Eileen Litterio

Deborah Drive

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