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Monday, April 10, 2017

UPDATED: If you are not CCA-approved, don’t apply to a town commission

How political favoritism has tainted Charlestown’s tradition of volunteerism
By Deb Carney

"Faith's Folly," a 1.3 mile stretch of asphalt installed in Ninigret Park
at the insistence of Faith LaBossiere. This project was sold to the
CCA-controlled Town Council at a cost of $7,000 but ended up
costing $267,000 PLUS interest. And it's hardly ever used. The fight
over this boondoggle led to the CCA gutting the existing membership
of the Parks & Rec Commission so they could be replaced with
CCA Party loyalists. (Photo by Will Collette)
These are updated, final text of comments presented before the Charlestown Town Council on April 10, 2017 

Last month the Council received 20 applications to fill 5 vacancies on the Parks and Rec Commission.

In an obvious political move by 4 of the 5 Council members, the 4 voted to appoint all of fellow CCA member Faith Laboissiere's ad hoc bike path committee members to fill 4 of the 5 vacancies on the Parks and Rec Commission.

The fifth appointment, the only non-bike path member, was appointed to fill the term that will expire in 10 months.  

The 4 former bike path members were appointed for 3 year terms.  Faith had previously been appointed to the commission.

Under Council Comments, several Councilors made a point of saying their decisions were not political.  

The fact that all 4 the CCA members bike path committee friends got appointed, while 15 other applicants, including several current members of that commission, who had not served on the bike committee did not, speaks loudly for political favoritism.

When one bike committee member withdrew his application, both the Town Council president and the CCA bike committee chair contacted him and asked him to withdraw his withdrawal.  Which he did.  

Did the Council president reach out to any of the 15 applicants that were NOT on the bike path committee?  

One of the members who was not reappointed was a United States Olympian who competed in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.  You would think the Town would be proud to have this former Olympian on their Parks and Rec Commission.  

Another member who was not reappointed is a 15 time Ironman Triathlon competitor.  You would think the town would be proud to have an Ironman Triathlon competitor on their Parks and Rec Commission.

Here is the original budget for "Faith's Folly" from a powerpoint
presentation to the Town Council by Faith.
Over the past several months, 4 of the 5 Councilors have raved about how wonderful the bike path is.
Remember, when this bike path was presented, it was going to cost the taxpayers $7,000.  

The final cost is over $300,000.  That's 4,000% over budget.  

Running projects 4000% over budget is not a fiscally prudent way to run a town nor is that wonderful.

So, fifteen non-CCA applicants for Parks and Rec were completely ignored.  

Favoritism was clearly shown by 4 of the Town Councilors to a CCA members bike path committee people.  

In the future, when the Council president reads the list of vacancies, she should let the resident know that applications will only be considered if their fellow CCA members or friends don't apply.