Letter: Defending My Integrity……. The Conversation

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Last in the Series of my Responses

In a recent letter I brought attention to Select Board Chair Vanessa Alvarado’s decision to accuse me of “numerous inaccuracies” in an open, televised meeting of the Select Board held on 2/11/2020.

This has left me no recourse but to defend myself and my reputation in the most public way available to me.

[For those reading this post as their first introduction to this topic and in the interest of not repeating myself, please see my earlier postings:

Pt 1: https://tinyurl.com/u8uyv73

Pt. 2: https://tinyurl.com/u5l66td

Pt. 3: https://tinyurl.com/ssbm7c2

You may review the video of my comments from the 2/11/2020 Select Board meeting in question here, which prompted Chair Alvarado to call me a blatant liar (I’ve cued this link to the start of my comments): https://tinyurl.com/tzy23dc

I am attaching to this short post, a text message conversation between Chair Alvarado and myself about the “Police Chief Selection” agenda item. This post will be my last in the series written to defend my statements made at the 2/11/2020 Select Board meeting.

As background: the “Select Board Packet” is typically released for publication on Thursday afternoon for the upcoming Select Board meeting the following Tuesday. With Town Hall closed on Fridays, agenda discussion or correspondence generally must occur on a Thursday morning. This text conversation on Thursday, January 30th was such a discussion.

Our conversation clearly shows my sense of urgency and strong requests for forward movement and final action on the matter of the “Chief Selection.” In contrast, you will read Ms. Alvarado’s rejections of my dire request, directly or by implication, four different times.

Ms. Alvarado’s rationale in this text exchange is that the schedule for the February 4th meeting is “packed” with many important items that need attention.

In actuality, the February 4th meeting had plenty of time to discuss the Police Chief item.
At approximately 8:00 PM the Board had nothing to discuss as a scheduled hearing could not start until 8:30 PM. To fill the time in between, the Chair moved up “minutes and future
agenda items” from their more traditional spot at meeting’s end. After dispensing of these items in about 15 minutes’ time, the Chair called a recess of approximately 15 minutes, waiting for the time to pass for the hearing to commence at 8:30 PM (see https://tinyurl.com/sba8ehm).

The Chair even commented during that meeting that the Feb. 4 meeting had time available in comparison to other meetings, which is very different from reasons she cited to me via text for omitting the Police Chief item from the agenda for that night (“there are only so many hours,” she’d said.)

At the public listening session on February 19th, after national news coverage and public outcry, Chair Alvarado provided yet another explanation as to why the “Chief Discussion” didn’t take place on February 4th. On February 19th she stated her rationale for delay on February 4th was to be sure to include all Select Board Members in the discussion (see: https://tinyurl.com/wbu8pzz ). A review of the Feb. 4 meeting video, however, shows that Board Member Ann Landry—who was in fact expected to be delayed beyond the start of the meeting on February 4th—arrived prior to 8:00PM (see https://tinyurl.com/sczo2k6). All five Board Members were present during the discussions designed to fill the empty slot from 8:00- 8:30PM.

The attached text conversation clearly demonstrates urgency from me, as well as insistence by Ms. Alvarado to delay, or in her words, to have a “continuation.”

I wrote my previous posts for those who prefer to read the facts in text, or for those who process it graphically. Today’s post is for those that would like to “listen in.” The video links provided herein, as context for our original text conversation, should be satisfactory to accomplish my originally stated goal. While I cannot comment why Chair Alvarado sought to impugn my character, I am content that I have been very thorough in “Defending my Integrity.”

Lastly, despite all the political chaos that has erupted in Reading with the unfortunate happenings of the February 11, 2020, Select Board meeting, my series of notes and attachments on this topic has been meant solely to defend my integrity against the egregious, irresponsible and inflammatory personal remarks directed at me by Chair Vanessa Alvarado.


John R Halsey

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