[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com. The following was authored by Bill Boland, who is running for reelection to the Board of Selectmen.]
I do not usually post to blogs. I think Susan Fitzgerald and Linda Hubley do a great job keeping the town informed. I have told Susan why I do not post but that is not the point of this.
As an elected official, you learn to just accept that sometimes stories in the paper aren’t always completely accurate; rumors or partially heard discussions sometimes are forwarded as the “Gospel truth”, and you can never make everyone happy. I usually never ask for stories to be corrected it’s not worth the aggravation.
I had my usual reaction to a letter to the editor by Ms Waterfall that was brought to my attention by several friends, “people who know me will know this isn’t true”. It’s usually best to just ignore things like this as a lot of people believe responding only promotes and prolongs the issue. In the end, it’s hard for the person who responds to “win” because there is usually a further letter or posting from the first person. Well I guess in this situation, since there is an election Monday, and some of my supports have asked, I owe it to my supporters to respond. I will only respond once.
I thought that Mr Bartolini and I had agreed this would be a nice, clean campaign. Perhaps that has changed. I will not say anything bad about Lee. We have known each other for a long time. I will not say anything bad about Ms Waterfall. I have a lot of respect for her and recently my colleagues and I voted to appoint her to the Conservation Commission. I will state that, I believe it would have been appropriate for Ms Waterfall to identify that she was Mr Bartolini’s Campaign Manager as part of her letter.
My response to the accusations in the letter is all fact based. Not necessarily in any specific order.
• At Candidates night at the Library on May 2nd, prior to listing any of my accomplishments, I identified Ms Waterfall in the audience and thanked her and called to everyone’s attention that she spearheaded the citizens efforts to obtain a new ladder truck for the Fire Department. She later expressed appreciation for my acknowledgement prior to asking a question. Video of candidates night is on Charter 11 or Verizon 38 or via this link http://126.96.36.199/Cablecast/Public/Show.aspx?ChannelID=1&ShowID=66 Selectmen start at about 1:06.
• I stated it was important to note that none of my achievements where mine alone, I worked with fellow Board members, staff and others to make the accomplishments.
• I stated the following: “With the Town Administrator, I worked with St Marks, Fay, New England Center for Children and Harvard to secure almost $400,000 in donations toward the Fire Departments Ladder Truck”. This is a fact. I did not mention the “Fire Ball”. I did not make any other claim about the ladder truck.
• When the Fire Chief first presented his capital budget article for the ladder truck he knew he had his work cut out for him. As with any other Capital Article for Town Meeting, members of the BOS, Advisory Committee and others pointed out to the Fire Chief that it would be up to him to provide the justification to gain support of the article, especially a million dollar truck. He established the Ladder Truck Committee. He did not want me or another member of the BOS on the Committee as we both have relatives that had been members of the Southborough Fire Department. He wanted as unbiased a group as possible so he asked the Selectman with no ties to the Fire Department. He knew that not everyone in town would support the truck.
• The BOS completely supported the work of the Committee. They produced an extensive report that convinced the BOS, Advisory and voters to approve the article to purchase the truck. That’s the way it works. Town Meeting voters expect the BOS and Advisory to challenge all requests, not to just support them because a Department Head thinks it’s a good idea.
• Mr Boland did not and could not remove the article from the Annual Town meeting. After discussion with the Fire Chief, The BOS unanimously agreed that the article was not ready and we committed to a Special Fall Town Meeting. It was unfortunate that the information didn’t get to the Ladder and Fire Ball Committees right away. This was all cleared up at the next BOS meeting. These are links to minutes and “MySouthborough” articles. I am not even mentioned.
- Selectmen minutes under other issues discusses ladder truck http://www.southboroughtown.com/minutes/Selectmen/march%2017,%202009.htm
- My Southborough Article https://mysouthborough.com/2009/03/18/ladder-committee-selectmen-sync-up-on-strategy/
- My Southborough Article https://mysouthborough.com/2009/03/17/why-the-ladder-truck-article-was-removed-from-the-warrant/
• The BOS is required by law to accept all donations to the Town. No donations went to the General Fund. If they did, the money would roll into free cash at the end of the year and could be used for anything the following year. The BOS had the Accountant establish a special account where the funds could only go toward the ladder truck. All donations went here. All of those funds only go toward payments for the truck.
• I went to the Fire Ball. I was actually given my ticket by someone who bought them but couldn’t use them. I sent Ms Waterfall a check for the cost of two tickets anyway. At the last minute, I was asked by St. Marks School to announce their commitment of $100,000 toward the purchase.
I think my point is made. I guess there are a lot of comments out there. Let’s move on. As I said, this will be my only post. If you would like to speak with me personally, send me a message and include your phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll respond.