First Selectman’s Update

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Colin Moll

From the time I was elected First Selectman, the overwhelming majority of our residents have been an absolute pleasure to work with and be around irrespective of their party affiliation. Suffield is, after all, a small town. Every week as most of our citizens work long days, eat dinner, relax and spend time with loved ones, a small army of volunteers – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – donate their time for our town. In good weather and bad they travel to municipal conference rooms and spend their evenings working for our community. Commission and board members research and prepare notes in their free time and donate their talents to this town. These folks don’t always agree with each other. But their debate is informed by patience and respect for different points of view. Their work ensures that Suffield remains a sought-after place to live and raise a family. However, there has been a small, noisy fringe group who have called the Republicans on the Board of Selectmen racists, homophobic, transphobic, fascists, and liars. But name calling is not a substitute for an argument on the merits. We have always understood that the conduct of this small group does not represent anything close to a majority of our residents.

Sadly, the conduct of this fringe group has recently hit a new low. The Democratic Town Committee recommended a candidate for the Library Commission. At the last moment in the process, that candidate’s wife asked the Board of Selectmen to appoint her to the Library Commission. The Board of Selectmen appointed her husband, but did not appoint her. Kathie Harrington is on the Board of Selectmen. She did not vote in favor of appointing either of them to the Library Commission.

Shortly thereafter, this person filed a complaint with Selectman Harrington’s employer. She accused Selectman Harrington of using her employer’s computer system to engage in political activity while on her employer’s time. This complaint subjected Selectman Harrington to potential disciplinary action by her employer and loss of her job. All seemingly because Selectman Harrington voted against appointing them to the Library Commission. Selectman Harrington’s employer completed an investigation which determined that her activities were permissible and found that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

This same person has also filed four complaints against the Library Commission with the FOI Commission. She let the Republicans who are new members of the Library Commission know that she had their resumes. So she knows where they work. One commission member has already resigned because he didn’t want to be subjected to what Kathie was. The Town already has difficulty finding volunteers, do you think this type of conduct will help?

Kathie is not only a colleague, but I consider her a friend. She is dedicated to her role as a Board of Selectmen member. I can always count on her to do her due diligence and provide a balanced point of view in her decision making. She did not deserve to be put through the stress and ordeal that she was subjected to. Nor does any other volunteer in this community.

Is this the way we are going to do things in Suffield? Is it the position of political opponents that they will go after your job? This town relies on volunteers for our boards and commissions, and this is not how they should be treated in return. Are Republicans to ignore these actions or should a similar approach be taken towards our political opponents? We’d much rather expend our energy addressing the needs of the Town in a collaborative and positive manner.

I strongly urge you to do the same and step back from this path.

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