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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Deputy Dan steps in document doo-doo

What ever happened to  Deputy Dan’s “Document #2?”?
Where's Document #2?
By Will Collette

On March 7, Town Council Vice President Deputy Dan Slattery (CCA) launched his campaign to overturn the town’s management of Ninigret Park.

He said he had gotten his hands on two very important documents. He made it sound like he had uncovered the Charlestown equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

These two documents, he said, showed that Charlestown had “legal, ethical, and moral responsibilities” that we were apparently failing to meet. He spoke passionately about these two documents again at the Town Council's regular meeting on March 12.

He wanted these two documents placed on Clerkbase, but he was not willing to let anyone – including his fellow Council members – see those documents until the Council voted to post them.

Here is his motion to post these two documents:

I managed to get my hands on Document #1, the "50-page historical record" referenced in Deputy Dan’s motion. I analyzed that document, and we posted a special link to it on March 20th. Later, both the CCA and the Ninigret Park National Wildlife Refuge also posted links to this 50-page document.

What did you do with Document #2?
But what ever happened to Deputy Dan's Document #2?

Given the intensity of Deputy Dan's attack on the Town Administrator, the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Parks & Recreation Director, you'd expect him to have some pretty powerful backup documentation.

So it seems pretty important for the town's sake, and for those people Deputy Dan is attacking, to see the documents underpinning his position.

Accordingly, on March 8, I filed an open records request for Document #2 under the state Access to Public Records Act (APRA).

Town Clerk Amy Weinreich responded on March 22, saying that she did not have the document. I followed the procedure prescribed by APRA and filed an appeal of Amy’s denial with Town Administrator Bill DiLibero.

DiLibero denied my appeal, citing the same reason as Amy: Deputy Dan did not give Document #2 to our Town Clerk, so she could not give it to me. 

DiLibero speculated that Document #2 may be some document in the US Fish & Wildlife’s custody, one that had been “loaned” to Deputy Dan by our local federal overseer, Charlie Vandemoer.

Rather than appeal Deputy Dan’s refusal to cough up records to the Attorney General – again – I decided to wait to see whether Document #2 might surface at or before the Town Council’s April 9 meeting where the issue was on the agenda.

But much to my surprise, Deputy Dan’s new motion made Document #2 disappear, as though it never existed.

Here's how Deputy Dan made Document #2 disappear (from his March 29 e-mail memo to Town Clerk Amy Weinreich):

Who took Document #2?
I have a problem with this disappearing Document #2.

Councilor Slattery has caused an uproar in Charlestown. He made it seem like he had found a long-lost Gospel. He asserted that these newly uncovered documents show that Charlestown was wallowing in sin.

Specifically, he has stated that Charlestown was in danger of losing its soul, or worse, Ninigret Park.

He used the “discovery” of these documents to launch an all-out attack on our Town Administrator. He cast doubt on the town’s right to use Ninigret Park according to our own Park Master Plan.

He used these documents as the basis for proposing to dump the Master Plan, neuter the Parks & Recreation Commission, and hand control over Ninigret Park to the Interior Department, Frosty Drew Observatory and the park’s neighbors, in disregard of the Town Charter and the desires and needs of the rest of Charlestown.

But the Land Transfer Agreement, the root of Deputy Dan's righteous indignation, has apparently disappeared. Or is something or somewhere else. Or is hiding in a mayonnaise jar buried in Deputy Dan’s backyard.

We know – and have shared with you – what is in Document #1, and it isn’t what Deputy Dan claimed. So it stood to reason that for Deputy Dan to undertake such a sweeping attack on town staff, town commissions, and town policies and practices in Ninigret Park, there must be some powerful stuff in Document #2 to rationalize his radical conduct.

So where is Document #2? How could Deputy Dan cause so much trouble in town based on a bone-headed error. Or is it something worse?

Deputy Dan’s got some ‘splaining to do.

Why, Deputy Dan, did you start all this mess when you may not even have all the documents and you clearly don’t have all the facts, as evidenced by the lengthy, detailed, and well-sourced presentations by Deb Carney and Cheryl Dowdell at the April 9 Town Council meeting?

You certainly didn’t take under consideration the documents that Deb Carney and Cheryl Dowdell introduced into the record on April 9. These records show that the Interior Department has no jurisdiction over the 55 acres of town-owned land which was one of the lead siting options for the wind turbines.

Indeed, Deputy Dan, you need to explain why you dragged Charlie Vandemoer, US Fish & Wildlife, into the middle of a town political squabble. Then you and Boss Gentz wring your hands about how it would be terrible if the current controversy damaged our good relationship with the US Interior Department.

Deputy Dan, I think it’s time for an end to your incessant witch hunts and crusades. Frankly, you look ridiculous riding around Charlestown on your bike and little orange vest looking for evildoers that don’t exist, based on “evidence” that dwells only in your fevered imagination.

You owe Bill DiLibero an apology, and I think you should be strongly thinking about putting an end to your political career.