Letter: Vote for people whose top priority is the town

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To the editor,

Tanya Gutierro has represented Beacon Falls on the Regional Water Authority’s Representative Policy Board for the last nine years. When her term was up earlier this year she asked to be reappointed. It was tabled at the May 8 Board of Selectmen meeting as Selectman Peter Betkoski had questions. At the June 12 meeting Mr. Betkoski indicated that he would like the position as “other municipalities have a representative from the Selectmen or Town Council,” according to the minutes. A motion was unanimously approved to appoint Mr. Betkoski.

Fast forward to the Oct. 2 Board of Selectmen meeting, which I was present as a member of the public. Selectman Michael Krenesky brought to light that during the previous discussion Mr. Betkoski had indicated his concern was that Ms. Gutierro had poor attendance. Mr. Krenesky verified that Ms. Gutierro attended more than 80 percent of the required meetings from April 2016 to June 2017.

Mr. Krenesky also discovered that the position was paid. Despite all of homework between May and June, Mr. Betkoski indicated in the meeting he did not know this. When asked to resign from the position, Mr. Betkoski, in a very harsh tone, said, “Absolutely not.” When Mr. Krenesky tried to continue a civilized discussion, First Selectman Christopher Bielik rudely and loudly interrupted Krensky, abruptly closing the issue.

Once again, Mr. Betkoski’s broken our trust, and continues to take more and more while owing the town years of back taxes on his business.

During public comment, I voiced my concern and suggested that the board revisit the topic. I do not feel that our Board of Selectmen has properly reviewed the issue and it seems the townspeople are being taken advantage of by Mr. Bielik and Mr. Betkoski. I too was cut off mid-statement by Mr. Bielik asking me to refrain from making acquisitions and indicating they were not engaging in discussion at that time. I was cutoff before I had the opportunity to share any facts and I was making a statement, not asking him to engage. If someone can’t discern a statement from a question and are too emotional to take public comment on an issue like this, I question that person’s ability to lead the town.

I’m uncomfortable with representatives who can’t have civilized and constructive discussions. Not only were Mr. Bielik and Mr. Betkoski rude to their fellow selectman, Mr. Bielik was also rude to myself, a resident of the town he serves. Mr. Bielik and Mr. Betkoski’s inability to handle themselves in a diplomatic and adult manner is disturbing.

Unfortunately, there is not another Board of Selectmen meeting before the election, so I ask the voters of Beacon Falls to keep this in mind as they head to polls next month, or perhaps read it for themselves as documented in the meeting minutes posted to the town website. It’s time to vote for representatives who truly have the town, not themselves, as their top priority.

Also, if Mr. Betkoski was so worried about attendance, why has he only attended one of the three meetings that have taken place since his term started, according to the minutes posted on the authority’s website?

Shawn Styfco

Beacon Falls