Letter: Personal misfortune shouldn’t be a political game


To the editor,

Well, here we go again. As another election cycle approaches, letters begin appearing with disparaging comments about party candidates’ qualifications, character and abilities to lead. I’m talking about Shawn Styfco’s letter published Sept. 8 on the purpose of his previous letter regarding Democrat Selectman Peter Betkoski. There’s a total contradiction with his explanation.

Furthermore, how dare someone raise the question of how many more years need to pass before another person, who is suffering the effects of a national recession, becomes financially solvent? Who has given him the insight or knowledge of Mr. Betkoski’s personal financial life to be considered an authority on the subject? The letter claims to praise the fact that Mr. Betkoski has continued to give back to his town and then calls those same contributions “distractions,” leading up to promoting typical campaign rhetoric: “How many more years need to pass before we call this what it is, poor business management.”

It seems to me that having Mr. Betkoski as an elected member of the Board of Selectmen, working with the Board of Finance, yielding our town an AA bond rating isn’t managing all that badly — quite frankly our budget is one of the best in the state.

Also, Mr. Betkoski, in a letter published Sept. 2, reported that his financial struggles are not now, nor were they before part of some hidden agenda. He stated that he has “shared those facts publicly,” entering into a payment plan with the tax office, and within the last year, through Chapter 13 protection. Here, please indulge my attempt to explain just what Mr. Betkoski has been doing about this matter and the responsible manner in which he has chosen to proceed:    Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a process in which the court calculates a debtor’s disposable income and uses the amount to create a payment plan toward debt. Furthermore it allows creditors to at least be paid their fair share in the event that a debtor chose to liquidate under Chapter 7 protection.

Clearly, Mr. Betkoski has made the harder choice — he chose to work through this process so honesty and fairness prevails in all cases and with all parties involved. Sounds like a pretty responsible guy choosing an equally responsible approach to a bad situation.

Mr. Betkoski along with the tax office and consulting with the state has chosen a legal option that is afforded to everyone. Although Mr. Styfco’s devised not one, but three options for Mr. Betkoski, in the end, Mr. Betkoski has chosen responsibly and has taken the proper steps to support his repayment process. He’s followed all the protocol to make restitution and he’s doing just that.

It appears to me that this entire effort is nothing more than a red-herring, one to discredit a person of the opposing party in the hope that misinformed voters may see him in a disparaging light.

Mr. Betkoski and his entire family have given to our town immeasurably. To make an issue of this in light of all the facts is reprehensible. But I trust the judgment of our citizens to discern right from wrong; truth from pejorative statements. And I’m proud to say I’m from Beacon Falls because in our town, we don’t kick someone when he’s down, we don’t act as a political operative just to gain majority representation in Town Hall, and we certainly don’t play political games with someone’s personal misfortune — a practice that I believe has been honored in our town and afforded to candidates/elected officials on both sides of the aisle in the past, and should continue to be honored in the future.

Sheryl Feducia

Beacon Falls

The writer is a member of the Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee and chair of the Region 16 Board of Education. She is running for the Board of Assessment Appeals in November.

Correction: The version of this letter printed in the Oct. 13 edition of the Citizen’s News incorrectly noted that the writer is not running for office. She is running for the Board of Assessment Appeals in November.


  1. Ms. Feducia,

    You are fast to declare my letter to the editor on Selectman Betkoski as “pejorative”. I certainly am expressing my “contempt or disapproval”, which is what pejorative means.

    For your comment regarding Chapter 13, yes we all agree that Selectman Betkoski has done what at the time was his best interest and no one takes making this decision lightly, though you seem to forget that during the 2003, 2005 and 2007 election campaigns, your party attacked the Republican candidate for First Selectman stating he was unfit to serve the town because his business went bankrupt.

    The difference between now and then is Selectman Betkoski is “directly” hurting the taxpayers of Beacon Falls.

    Now that the roles are reversed you are crying foul. Very hypocritical, don’t you think? There are no excuses to allow double standards.

    Shawn Styfco