Letter: Regarding Rindge budget meeting

  • Rindge' budget advisory committee voted 4-1 May 2 to recommend the removal of Selectwoman Roberta Oeser as ex-officio member after a controversial BAC meeting on April 25. The same day the select board voted not to remove Oeser at this time. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:39AM
Regarding Rindge budget meeting

To the editor:

“The Rest of the Story,” as Paul Harvey would say:

On April 11, the Budget Advisory Committee met and the “consensus,” according to the minutes approved on April 25: “All agreed that three alternates would be desirable. Three members of the public asked that they be considered as alternates: Ellen Smith, Carl Pruter and Phil Motta.”

On April 12 and again on April 13, chairman Rick Sirvint indicated in an email that three alternates should be chosen at the next meeting:

“The plan for that evening is that I will move that we accept the three people who have expressed interest in becoming alternates.”

“I want whole BAC pick alternates. I’m leaning to a maximum of three.”

On April 16, he changed his position and sent this:

“Due to size of BAC, a maximum of two alternates will be selected from those who are interested in position.”

Here is the agenda (in part) for the April 24 meeting:

1. Approval of April 11, 2018 minutes.

2. Discussion and approval of policy for selection of alternates.

3. Selection of alternates.

On April 24 the chairman did not stick to his own agenda. He apparently was unaware of the 2011 warrant article about alternates for the BAC and even when provided with this information, he wanted to adopt a policy that was contrary to the voters’ decision, basically trying to circumvent the voters. One important item to note is that he kept asking for a second (to the proposed policy) when there never was a motion made to adopt it.

Another thing to note in the video is that he says he has two letters to read which appear to be concerning alternates. Even though there were at least three that had indicated interest in being appointed. He adjourned the meeting not because nothing was getting done, but because he wasn’t getting his way. A childish “I’m going to take my ball and go home” attitude. There was nothing democratic about the way he conducted the meeting, but thoroughly autocratic. Not allowing public comment, in my opinion, is saying “I know better than you,” the public we are supposed to be representing and serving.

On Monday, April 30, Rick Sirvint and Sharon Rasku met with the town administrator, Joe Byk and BOS chairman, Jim Qualey, for well over an hour at the town office. Shortly after the meeting, the BAC meeting was quickly scheduled for Wednesday, May 2. The BOS agenda was also published at about the same time with an agenda item: Recommendation from the chair of the BAC. I guess the BOS chairman is clairvoyant.

My questions, as should yours be: Why did Rick Sirvint suddenly decide that there should only be two alternates and why did he apparently only have two of the three letters with him from interested parties? Why was the BAC meeting for May 2 even scheduled when the BOS does not have the authority to remove the selectman member of the BAC?

My thoughts: There was apparently a person that had expressed interest in being an alternate that Rick (or someone else) did not really want to have on the committee. Second, Rick and Sharon were apparently told that all they had to do to have me removed from the BAC was to have the committee vote on it and convey their wish to the BOS. I also believe from Rick’s behavior and comments after the meeting (as relayed to me), is that he was given assurance that I would be removed from the BAC by members of the BOS and the town administrator. When that did not occur, he became quite angry.

My response to Rick Sirvint’s claims: Hogwash!

With Rick Sirvint being a chairman of a committee, democracy in Rindge is indeed threatened.

Roberta Oeser