CommentarySpeak Up!

Council “Interference” Depends on Who Is in Control

I couldn’t believe it.  During the open public forum of the Tiverton Town Council meeting on February 10, William McLaughlin got up and told the council we had to do more to keep the town’s boards and commissions on track because things aren’t getting done.

This is the same “Bill Mac” who made it hard for us to get anything done last year with his recall petition. He and the Recall Gang working to give control of the town back to Patricia Hilton and Denise deMedeiros jumped on us whenever we did anything that even looked like oversight with boards and commissions.

Councilors Hilton and deMedeiros accused us of “micromanagement,” “stepping on toes,” “duplicating efforts.”

Please check Council meeting September 23, 2019, video time 2:50:43.  Now that they are in power, interfering and discouraging volunteer efforts, which we were accused of, is alright.

Talk about a double standard!  Also, that same night in September, we had a discussion and vote on a format for a tracking sheet to have oversight of outstanding unfinished business.  It is not being done and things get lost in the weeds.

Soon after we were elected, Vice President Justin Katz asked the town to replace playground equipment at Town Farm quickly.  He met with the recreation chairman and the town administrator to get the process started, and then… nothing.  We wanted a playground by the beginning of summer, but nothing happened.

When we started putting the playground on the council’s agenda, the administrator made it sound like the project was stuck.  So, Justin and Councilor Nancy Driggs took the time to do some research about equipment and sketch out an application for a state grant.

On Sept. 30,2019, Stuart Gilfillen, from the Recreation Committee, rushed forward with a playground commission and insisted we approve it.  We did approve it to get things going, in part based on our trust of Chris Roemlein, the Recreation Committee Chairman.  Wouldn’t you know it, right after the recall election, the committee voted to replace Roemlein with Gilfillen.

It appears like Justin and Nancy caught them in their plan.  If Councilors Justin Katz and Nancy Driggs hadn’t become involved in putting an application together for the Town Farm Playground, the Recreation Committee would have stayed quiet until after the recall and then stepped forward to look like  they were saving the day.  Perhaps that explains why the Recreation Committee and Councilors Hilton and deMedeiros got so angry at Katz and Driggs’ involvement.  No one wanted those town council members to get credit for getting the project moving.   A lot of the same people were involved in both the playground project and the recall.


Featured image: Town Farm’s main playground in 2010, before the town began removing deteriorating pieces.


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