Letter: Town can’t afford to raise first selectman’s salary

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letters_flatTo the editor,

As a resident and longtime volunteer in the small town of Beacon Falls, I am greatly saddened and concerned by what is happening to this great small town. The electors of the town seem to be being shut out and silenced at almost every turn.

We, the townspeople, elected three representatives at our last election. We are governed by a Board of Selectmen, not just one selectman. It seems that in order to push an agenda to secure a huge increase in pay (over 100 percent increase) for the position of first selectman, Gerard Smith has effectively been able to see to it that at our Board of Finance meetings only a report from the First Selectman is now heard, where previously (as far back as one can look up anyway) it was always a report from the Board of Selectmen — all three representatives were allowed to speak in their capacity. While the two remaining selectmen can speak, it is now relegated to the general public comment section.

The town is supposed to be represented by the entire Board of Selectmen, and I for one, would like to see restored to that style of representation.

With the economy in its current state, Beacon Falls is in no position to allow such an increase to happen at this time. What is Gerard Smith thinking?

Kevin McDuffie

Beacon Falls

3 COMMENTS

  1. The Board of Finance is an independent board, separate from the Board of Selectman. The First Selectman is an ex official member of all Town Boards and Commissions. By Connecticut General Statutes, the First Selectman is a non-voting member of the Board of Finance. The Selectmen are not members, but they may speak as a member of the public. Would anyone think a Finance Board Member should fully participate (I.e., talk throughout a meeting) at a Board of Selectman meeting? I don’t think so. I was the one who sought this change, not to ‘muzzle’ anyone but rather to assert the independence of the Board of Finance. I think Town residents would prefer an independent Finance Board. There are two public comment sections at each regular meeting, one at the beginning and one at the end of the agenda. All are welcome to speak.

  2. What Mr. McDuffie failed to state was why this was done. One of the main reasons (as well as others), was that there were several instances where meetings were significantly dragged far longer (well past the point of constructive discussion) than needed for obvious reasons. And as Mr. McDuffie himself stated, the selectmen can make comments in the general comment area if they desire.

    Bottom line is that if grandstanding is going to be done by a selectmen (like what happened this week), then let it be done in their BOS meetings – NOT OURS!! We have prided ourselves throughout the years to being a neutral board and I personally want to see it stay that way.

    Brian Ploss
    Board of Finance Member

  3. Not surprisingly, Mr. McDuffie failed to give readers full disclosure. His baseless attack on First Selectman Smith is nothing more than sour grapes. Mr. McDuffie was terminated last year by First Selectman Smith as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The exact reason for the dismissal was never made public, but some have suggested it’s because he placed party politics above the good of Beacon Falls. Mr. McDuffie also failed to mention he is a member of the Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee, and the DTC is still resentful they lost the election to Selectmen Smith and Damico for positions to which they feel entitled. With this salvo, it’s apparent the election season in Beacon Falls has officially begun.