Letter: Resident expresses concerns with administration

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letters_flatTo the editor,

With the Beacon Falls election just two weeks away, I’d like to express my serious concerns regarding the current administration and what they do and don’t stand for. I am a lifelong resident, taxpayer and former official. The questionable events that I have seen during this administration are many. Here are just a few of my observation:

-During Mr. Smith’s last campaign he said, “his government would be transparent” and that he “would govern without emotion or favoritism.” (Citizen’s News, October 2011.) His first change upon taking office was to remove one of the tow public comment sections at the monthly Board of Selectman meetings. He also made it clear that during the now only one public comment portion he would not respond to the concerned taxpayer unless he felt like it. How could this possibly support his previous campaign promise when he reduced the time that the public can speak and then chooses when and if to respond? I have always been of the belief that elected officials are to serve the people, not the other way around.

– Mr. Smith has repeatedly excluded one of our duly elected selectmen from meetings that he has called to discuss town business, personnel issues, etc. This practice of Mr. Smith began just a few months into his administration and continues to this day. The most recent case occurred on Oct. 1, 2013. Mr. Smith called a meeting to interview applicants for the position of public works foreman. He failed to even notify the minority selectmen of this meeting, yet he thought it was just fine to invite his running mate to sit in on the meeting. Not only is this behavior improper, but it shows a lack of respect for the people who voted for this selectman. I don’t believe these meetings are even legal.

-During Mr. Smith’s campaign in 2011, he was quoted as saying that he is “definitely not interested in seeking any increase in town salaries.” Well folks, we all remember the first budget Mr. Smith sent to the Board of Finance this year. He requested a 169 percent increase for the position of first selectman. 169 percent.

-For most of us, the town website, which was funded by taxpayers and is very use for residents who cannot make it to meetings, leaves a lot to be desired. Information, meeting minutes, agendas, etc., are sent out of Town Hall to a volunteer appointed by the First Selectman, for posting on the website. Often the information is not posted in a timely manner, leaving people uninformed at meetings or even unaware that a meeting is taking place. This issue has been brought to Mr. Smith’s attention on several occasions, both verbally and written. Mr. Smith’s standard response (most recently at the September 2013 Board of Selectmen meeting) is that the website is a “courtesy” and that he “would have no problem just shutting it down.” Oh really? What utter lack of respect this shows for the people of Beacon Falls.

-The running mate that Mr. Smith has chosen is very confusing to say the least. Mr. Sorrentino is a registered Democrat and was quoted in the paper saying that he intends to remain a Democrat. What the heck is up with that? When Mr. Sorrentino served on the Board of Selectmen as a Democrat he often showed an inability to make up his mind on important issues. Now it seems he can’t even make up his mind regarding what political party he chooses to align with. Mr. Sorrentino has told several people in town that he is running because if he didn’t, Mr. Smith would not have a running mate. Does Mr. Smith’s own party not support him enough to come up with a running mate?

-Mr. Smith does not like to be challenged, questioned, second guessed or even listen to suggestions that he’s not interested in. His response is usually in the form of retribution. After Mr. Smith was challenged regarding his request for a 169 percent raise his response was to put a formal complaint in the personnel file of a town employee who is related to one of the people challenging his requested pay increase.

Never before have I seen so many people in town concerned about the re-sale value of their homes and of being afraid they might not be able to pay their taxes. Far too much money is being spent and borrowed by this administration. It is irresponsible to borrow money one year and then role the loan into another loan the next year. We can’t keep borrowing money without paying it back.

I urge everyone to study the issues and get out and vote. If you need an absentee ballot, contact the town clerk. If you need a ride to the polls, contact your party’s town committee. Please get out and vote. The issues are too important to sit this out.

Frank Semplenski

Beacon Falls