Letter: Bill Boland responds to fire truck criticism

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.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 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.

• 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 boland2012@verizon.net and I’ll respond.

Bill Boland

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Independant S-boro voter
11 years ago

Hello Mr. Boland and readers,

First let me say that I am an independent voter aligned to NO party, affiliation or candidate. I vote issues! I believe, first and foremost in honesty and integrity (not just buzz words but demonstrable evidence). I also like most everybody I’ve met in town since moving here with my family 13 years ago. Nice folks, generally compassionate, smart and fun to be with, too! My key issues: maintain the feel of a New England small town, live within our budgeted means, balance needs of the young and old equitably, and manage growth wisely.

That said, I am keenly aware of campaign tricks and despise them (i guess as a child of the ’70s and ’80s, i am use to seeing cheap shots in elections, particularly as the date draws closer. Well, Ms. Waterfall’s letter and the silence from Mr. Bartolini really gets my dander up. Lee Atwater (google him) couldn’t have come up with a more scurrilous scheme that shilling for a candidate with false claims about an opponent, claims that go the core of integrity (1st criteria of a good candidate).

I paraphrase Mr. Boland’s comments here …. “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 …. [nor] anything bad about Ms Waterfall….. 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.”

I truly question a person’s ability to lead if they cannot comport themselves with honor and straightforward debate. Shame!

Frank Crowell
11 years ago

Independent – I could not agree with you more, but would have used another example. As for any of this convincing me that either man deserves my vote, I am still up in the air. It could be that my neighbor gets the vote – consider it a protest vote. Several other candidates will get the same treatment. 

Since we now have dirty tricks being played in or local election, I wonder when the other political shenanigans start. For an understanding of what I am taking about, take a look at the WSJ opinion page either Friday or Saturday (Kimberley Strassel article with follow up). It is one of the reasons why I remain anonymous.

Gary Drake
11 years ago

A well written note from Mr. Boland. Reminds me of Obama, “I think”, “I guess”, “I stated”. Read down some and now it’s “Mr Boland did not and could not…”. which leads me to believe someone else wrote this letter. Pretty shabby over sight and proof-reading, I hope the true author was not on Southboroughs time clock at the time. I’d say,”see you on election day”, but I live on the South Side…enough said.

Diane Romm
11 years ago

Hello Bill Boland,
I don’t know you and have no political motivation for posting this. I would just like to make the comment that I glanced at the email to which you have replied and, quite frankly, I thought it was inappropriate and defamatory. Based on that post, one could easily turn away from you when voting. That is shameful because I don’t know your history and I am certainly NOT GOING TO BASE MY OPINION ON THAT POST! Thank you for replyng.

  • © 2024 MySouthborough.com — All rights reserved.