LtE: Off-the-Rails, Despicable, Unhinged

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To the Editor:

Off-the-rails, despicable, unhinged – which adjective to choose to describe Select Board member Chris Haley’s performance at the February 17th meeting of the Select Board? I can’t decide – all three may be the best option. Despite being a long-time observer and volunteer in Reading town government, I found myself stunned to see Mr. Haley attack acting chair Mark Dockser in the manner he did.

The February 17th meeting was called to discuss an open meeting law violation complaint filed against the Board, a plan to fill the current vacancy on the Board, and the selection of a new town manager.  

There was no expectation that this would be an easy meeting without some degree of tension and disagreement. But most people in the audience, myself included, were unprepared for Mr. Haley’s disturbing behavior.

At various points in the meeting Mr Haley challenged the integrity of the Select Board, the integrity of the town manager selection process, and the personal integrity of Mr. Dockser himself.

But the oddest aspect of Mr. Haley’s remarks is that he never revealed any specific action or any evidence to support what he was saying. Mr. Dockser invited Mr. Haley (and any member of the Board) to raise any concern, any specifics, so that they could be discussed right then.

But Mr. Haley refused to do so. Instead he tossed out statements, such as “It’s not my place to say,” “It’s not my place to be the one who does it,” “I know you know what it means.” For more than ten minutes Mr. Haley led the Board and the public down the garden path toward absolutely nothing. Nothing but hints and innuendos.  

So what we have is a member of the Select Board going after the acting chair of the Board and perhaps the Board itself for reasons he refuses to reveal in order to accomplish what? Undermine the Board? Further promote himself? I don’t know. But I do know that this type of behavior is unacceptable from an elected official of the most important board in town.

Mary Ellen O’Neill
Summer Ave

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