LtE: Responding to Allegations re Jackie McCarthy’s Resignation

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Since Jackie McCarthy’s abrupt resignation from the Select Board in February, the politics in this town have become a maelstrom of character assassination attempts. There have been wild allegations of blackmail and extortion. There has also been a target on the heads of certain elected members of our community along with shifting blame. 

As two of the parties who have been named, maligned, and threatened as a part of this incident, we can no longer remain silent. We do not want to further contribute to the rumors, false allegations, and personal attacks that divide this town. Rather, we are here to explain how a show of support turned into a massive misunderstanding. 

Here was our experience: 

  • On February 3, 2024, Mark Delaney (Jackie McCarthy’s husband) called Karen Herrick and told Karen about a phone call that Carlo Bacci made to Jackie. Carlo allegedly told Jackie that he and Chris Haley had agreed to support a specific Town Manager candidate and asked her to join them, thus creating an Open Meeting Law (OML) violation. This was an egregious violation of state law involving the most important duty of the Select Board, and it put the validity of the Town Manager hiring process at risk. Karen spoke to Vanessa about her concerns, and Vanessa discussed the situation with Joe Carnahan.
  • Joe was concerned about the potential for litigation if candidates found out that a majority of the Board reached a decision behind closed doors. Vanessa, having experienced serious repercussions in her own career due to local politics, was generally concerned about the impact an OML violation of this magnitude could have on Jackie.
  • On February 4, Vanessa and Joe each contacted Jackie to discuss their concerns and offer advice on how to manage the OML violation Carlo had created. Joe and Vanessa both had long-standing, friendly relationships with Jackie, as they had discussed many town issues and offered advice and support over the years.
  • There was a massive miscommunication between texts and phone calls on February 4th. Jackie did not interpret their texts/conversations in the way they were intended. She has stated that she felt specific text messages from them threatened her reputation and were her reason for resigning. As these text exchanges are public records and have already been seen by many residents, we are including them here, unedited, for the sake of full transparency.
  • Joe and Vanessa have made several efforts to engage and clarify the misunderstanding with Jackie since learning about it in mid-March. One conversation took place between Joe and Jackie on March 22. Jackie has not responded to other requests to speak to resolve the issues. She has indicated a desire to “move on.”

Given the likelihood of further threats against us and other negative repercussions, why are we opening ourselves up? Because the lies, distortions, and rumors continue to harm residents and the community at large. In addition to the two of us, Mark Dockser, Linda Snow Dockser, Karen Herrick, and Angela Binda have been directly or indirectly accused of blackmail, extortion, and/or harassment. Even false accusations can ruin a person’s life, reputation, and livelihood. The constant online and personal attacks have ruined children’s birthday celebrations, vacations, and family events. The ongoing political posturing and villainization of members of this community needs to end.

We cannot function as a community if destroying your neighbor’s reputation with innuendo to score political points becomes acceptable behavior. The damage from even the smallest misunderstanding can be immense; imagine how much more harm will come from deliberate actions. 

Like many of you, we are tired of the constant rumor mill concerning this event, and we are giving you our unedited texts to squash these rumors. We hope that this explanation provides some clarity and context for the events that occurred in February. Jackie has asked that we move on, and now we ask that as well. It’s time to heal and focus on the town.

Your neighbors,

Joe Carnahan and Vanessa Alvarado

Jackie has publicly stated that specific text messages threatened her reputation and were her reason for resigning. As these text exchanges are public records and have already been seen by many residents, we are including them here, unedited, for the sake of full transparency.

Joe and Jackie’s text exchange on Sunday, February 4, 2024

(In November 2023, Jackie reached out to Joe asking for his input on how to manage the voting process for the Town Manager Screening Committee. The first text below is a follow-up to that conversation.)

Joe texted Jackie (8:59am)

So, I know you’re getting spammed today about the Town Manager vote on Tuesday, including getting lobbied pretty hard by some folks. (Maybe even sitting Select Board members? Committing an OML violation in a hiring process would be disastrous if it delegitimized the outcome.) I have my thoughts, if you’re curious to hear them, but I wanted to reach out specifically about voting process, just because that’s something you and I put our heads together on for the screening committee.

Here’s the thing: We got a unanimous vote for Fidel because we only had two options, and frankly neither of those options offered what the minority on the board wanted. We now have an option that is very polarizing, someone who makes both sides think of Bob and who is about as likely as Bob to push for things like Killam, Senior Center, CPA, Green Communities. (That is, “not at all”. I’m honestly terrified about all the good things that would fall apart if things went that way.) So, I don’t think we’re getting an unanimous vote if we don’t do multiple rounds in a way that eliminates the polarizing candidate.

You *might* get to unanimity by doing multiple rounds of voting, though only if you eliminated one at a time (pick top three, then pick top two, then pick top one). You might also get there with a “pick two” if literally all of the majority picked the same two, but obviously that can’t be guaranteed without going around OML. 😕

Anyway, if you want to talk this through in the next couple days, I would love to hear from you. Thanks!

Jackie texted Joe (9:14am)

Definitely getting spammed and I respectfully disagree with you on the substance of who I think you’re talking about, but happy to talk process. Juggling a couple of other calls tonight but will try you after 5

Joe texted Jackie (10:12am)

I appreciate any time I can get, and I totally understand if you simply don’t have time. I do think it’s important to think about the situation the town is currently in and who would be the best choice *for that situation*, not just a good choice in general. Good luck with what I’m sure will be a busy day!

(Jackie called Joe at 5:00pm, he did not answer.)

Joe texted Jackie (5:09pm)

Sorry I missed your call – I was driving to meet my parents for dinner. I’m with them now, but if you want to catch up later, please let me know.

Jackie texted Joe (5:26pm)

Will call you after my 530 on this topic

(Jackie called Joe at 5:46pm, he did not answer.)

Jackie texted Joe (5:46pm)

Tag, you’re it

(Joe called Jackie at 6:55pm. They spoke for 3 minutes and 24 seconds.)

Vanessa and Jackie’s text exchange on Sunday, February 4, 2024

Vanessa texted Jackie (12:02pm)

hey, can you chat later?

Jackie texted Vanessa (12:05pm)

Lots of calls as you can imagine. Can you call me tomorrow at 5 PM?

Vanessa texted Jackie (12:05pm)


Vanessa texted Jackie (4:57pm)

I realized my question for you is time sensitive, any chance we could connect today or early tomorrow?

Jackie texted Vanessa (4:58pm)

Sure can you call me at 530?

Vanessa texted Jackie (4:58pm)

yes, thx

(Vanessa called Jackie at 5:31pm. They spoke for 13 minutes and 25 seconds.)

Vanessa texted Jackie (7:38pm)

Sorry that it’s been a rough week. Left you a bottle of wine on the back porch. 

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