Letter: Price too high for chair

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To the editor,

I just read the article in [the Dec. 27 Citizen’s News] about the “procedural” issues caused by the purchase of an office chair by the new first selectman of Beacon Falls, Christopher Bielik. Procedural issue? Is it me, or does anyone else see the issue with what’s reported in this article as an “ethical” issue? $700 for an office chair? Really?

The first question that comes to my mind is, where is the chair that was used by the previous first selectman? Did he BYOC (bring your own chair) when he got elected to the office, or did he not even need a chair because he spent so little time in the office that he didn’t have time to sit (even though he unsuccessfully attempted to raise the first selectman position from part time to full time, with a doubling of the salary, and a full benefit package)?

While I find it admirable that Mr. Bielik at least plans to spend enough time in his new office to require a chair, it’s hard for me to believe that he can’t find one that would comfortably house his posterior for less than $700. I guess things change when you’re buying things with other peoples’ money. I just furnished my home office with an awesome chair from Staples for $280. It does everything short of rub my back when I sit in it and I saw plenty more to choose from at Staples and other stores when I was looking for the one I finally purchased that cost far less than $700. Oh, I did see some for more than twice what I paid, but I have a budget and a responsibility to my family that would not allow me in good conscience to spend so frivolously. I even used a coupon to further enhance my savings.

I wonder how much Mr. Bielik spent on the chair in his home office? I seriously doubt it was $700. And even if he did spend that much, that’s his money and he can do what he wants with it. But the money used to buy a chair for his public office is not his and he should be held to a more responsible standard when making purchasing decisions that use hard earned taxpayer dollars. If this is an indication of how he plans to make future, more impactful decisions as first selectman going forward, I guess I better open another savings account just to start putting away money to pay my future taxes.

Hopefully, someone will review this purchase if it’s not too late and make a better, more responsible purchasing decision in these difficult economic times where people in our town and most others are struggling to pay their bills. If not, I assume that an asset tag will be placed on this throne, and it will still be in the first selectman’s office when the next candidate shows up for his first day of work. Is it any wonder that people in general have come to despise politicians? Not really.

Chris Scelfo

Beacon Falls

6 COMMENTS

  1. Is it just me or has the issue of the Town website become a non issue. If memory serves me correct it was a major issue when the site took days to update under the previous admin but now it doesn’t seem to matter. This is a major source of communication and it is inactive. What does he do all day in his new chair?

  2. Dear Cousin – I was not looking backward or forward related to elections. The election is over and the next one is too far off. You find it to easy to divert attention related to the misstep made by Mr Bielik and scream politics instead of addressing the real issue of an excessive expenditure. Sure it is just a chair and yes there are many more important issues facing our community. If many of us are willing to sound off on this issue, wait until budget discussions come forward as we are expecting that there will be deep cuts across all departments resulting in no increase and hopefully a decrease. Mr Bielik campaigned at my house declaring Mr Smith spent excessively and he would fix this. If the chair is an example of his campaign promise, we are in trouble.

  3. We could consider that perhaps the chair came from Fort Lee, NJ, and perhaps the delivery team had to sit in traffic, and perhaps someone had to pay them for their time. Who knows, it may turn out that someone will find a link between Mr. Bielik and Gov. Christie, that there was another email marked “Importance: High” that we’ve yet to hear about, and at the end of the day, perhaps Mr. Bielik asked the Governor of NJ to close some lanes so the good people of Beacon Falls could be bilked out of their fortunes.

    OR we could get over the last election results and allow those that had the highest number of votes last November get on with the task of leading our town. With the utmost respect to my dear cousin, politicking more than 6 months before an election under the guise of “character and accountability” is part of the problem (more so than any chair could be) and is not part of the solution.

  4. “The previous chair was indeed taken by the former first selectman when he failed in his bid for a second term. Perhaps a souvenir.”

    I am sure it will be with great disappointment to you to learn that the prior administration had his own chair that he used while in office. The chair that was in the office prior to him assuming office was given to someone in the office that needed a better chair than they had at the time.

    Brian

  5. TS thanks for the link to Staples. looking at this site I now realize the range of prices for chairs. What I found interesting is that are over 4,000 types of chairs sold by this store, over 3,500 of them less expensive then the chair under discussion in this article. There were hundreds of ‘manager’ and ‘executive’ chairs under $300. Many under $200.

    Chris is right to question why our First Selectman, who declared the need for transparency during the recent campaign, felt the need to spend $700 for a chair. I understand the First Selectman has issued a memo on the upcoming budget that it will be lean and tight, yet he apparently has no remorse in spending excessively for his own “posterior” as defined by Mr. Scelfo.

    TS – This is not a political issue, it is an issue over character and accountability.

  6. Chris –

    Great question…..”The first question that comes to my mind is, where is the chair that was used by the previous first selectman?”

    The previous chair was indeed taken by the former first selectman when he failed in his bid for a second term. Perhaps a souvenir.

    Have you bought an office chair recently Chris?

    http://www.staples.com/office+chairs/directory_office+chairs?sby=2&rpp=24&pn=1&sr=true

    I encourage you to go at least 8 to 10 pages deep to get a sense of the marketplace. Perhaps than you (and this “new” outlet) would recognize just how foolish it is to try to turn this into a political scandal.