Letter: It is a Big Deal

The Reading Post accepts Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed. The Reading Post reserves the right to edit or not publish any letters received. Letters do not represent the views or opinions of the Post. editor@thereadingpost.com

The recall election could not be further from “petty.”

My support for the recall has nothing to do with “political revenge” or “misogyny” or any of the other varied defense strategies Ms. Alvarado’s supporters have hurled to slow its momentum. None of which respond to her actions as Chair of the Select Board during the police chief hiring process.

I support the recall because of Ms. Alvarado’s willful role in delaying the police chief hiring process. Consider this timeline to see why I’m troubled: Ms. Alvarado joined the Town Manager’s already-formed Selection Committee for the police chief hiring process on August 27th, by which point Reading had already been without a police chief and had been operating under difficult circumstances for 8 months—not due to Ms. Alvarado’s actions. As a new member of the Selection Committee, Ms. Alvarado participated in the Assessment Center on November 19th. As Chair of the Select Board, she received the Town Manager’s nominated candidate on January 13th, and she disallowed discussion of that candidate through February 19th. In fact, during the prior meeting on February 11th Ms. Alvarado implied at least three times that she would vote against the Town Manager’s candidate not because of his skills or credentials, but because she disapproved of the Town Manager’s process. By the Charter (Section 5.2.b), the Town Manager is the sole appointing authority for the Police Chief position. Ms. Alvarado and the Select Board, put simply, are not.

Delaying the hiring of a police chief is not a petty offense.

I and thousands of other Reading citizens continue to be confounded and distressed by Ms. Alvarado’s refusal to bring the nominated candidate forward for a Select Board vote before public outcry, massive press attention, and the recall petition got underway. I am dismayed at her lack of personal accountability for her actions and inaction.

I’m voting for the recall because delaying the vote on the police chief candidate means Ms. Alvarado was willing to risk:

  • declining morale for the entire Reading police department 
  • prolonged dependency on a department working below recommended staffing levels
  • chance of decreased police performance for citizens and for police officers
  • overreliance on then-Deputy Chief Clark to continue providing excellent service in a longstanding interim capacity
  • losing the top chief candidate following a months-long, rigorous vetting process

That the Select Board could not even take action with a vote on the appointed candidate reduces my confidence in the board as a whole and certainly in Ms. Alvarado who alone controlled the agenda – including when the candidate could be discussed and voted on.

Please join me in giving this matter the very serious attention it deserves and voting FOR the recall on Tuesday, September 1st

Ample documentation (including Select Board meeting transcripts, videos, timelines, and text messages) are available at www.fortherecall.com for all seeking additional information. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Penny Belmonte
Proud Wife of a Retired Police Officer
Timberneck Drive

Print Friendly, PDF & Email