LtE: Select Board Members Playing Politics

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To the Editor,

Select Board members Carlo Bacci and Christopher Haley repeatedly accuse fellow Board members of “playing politics, ” most recently at the March 12 Select Board meeting. Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley appear to be playing a game of “I know you are but what am I” to deflect and project their own bad behavior and self-interest onto other Select Board members. Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley are the “politics players” and need to be called out as such, with all the ensuing consequences.

Merriam-Webster defines the idiom “play politics” as, “To say or do things for political reasons instead of doing what is right or what is best for others.” Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley hail themselves as the supporters and champions of small business owners, yet they both left the last Select Board meeting with many items still on the agenda, before the meeting adjourned. They picked up their things and walked out over the vote for Select Board leadership, leaving a small business owner without the opportunity to ask the Select Board for a license, which was on the agenda for 8:15. Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley ignored an earlier request to at least finish that important piece of business. Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley disregarded Select Board policy 1.2.4, which states, “It shall be the policy of the Select Board to conduct the business on its agenda at the meeting for which it is listed.”  

Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley put their own desires and disappointments above the needs of the small business owner who was to appear before the Board. A Select Board member who shuts down the business of the Town of Reading because of a personal disappointment and embarrassment is not fit to serve as Chair or Vice-Chair on that Board. Can the residents of Reading expect similar bad behavior if Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley are on the minority end of another vote? That is not acceptable. 

At the meeting, Haley lobbed disparaging comments at Finance Committee Chair Ed Ross, over committee leadership, to which Ross responded at the next FinCom meeting, reported here.

In a recent LtE, Mr. Bacci wrote “We have reorganized the last 4 years I have been in office and have done it without fanfare.” However, at the April 20, 2021 Select Board meeting, after Select board member Ann Landry nominated Karen Herrick for the position of Chair, newly elected member Chris Haley, minutes into his first Select Board meeting, made a motion to delay the reorganization, for up to six months. After discussion, a vote was taken, with Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley in favor of delaying the reorganization, and Ms. Landry, Mark Dockser, and Ms. Herrick against the motion. Mr. Bacci is only opposed to delaying a reorganization of the Select Board when it suits his personal and political goals.  

No one is owed a Chairmanship, and fellow board members are free to vote for colleagues whom they believe will best serve the needs of the Select Board and the Town. Mr. Bacci and Mr. Haley owe the small business owner who was waiting to be heard by the Board a public apology. I hope they do so at the March 26 meeting. They did a huge disservice to that business owner, and showed a lack of professionalism, responsibility, and understanding of the position of Chair. They should not be rewarded for their immature behavior with a leadership position. 


Angela Binda
Orchard Park Drive
Town Meeting member, Rec Com vice-chair, SWEC member

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