Showing posts with label Select Board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Select Board. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Avoiding The Appearance Of A Conflict

Select Board & Town Attorney decided to dodge transparency issue

The Amherst Select Board had the opportunity to make this conflict of interest issue go away last night but they took the easy way out:  avoidance.

The town attorney suggested that not openly acknowledging a potential "conflict of interest" didn't fall  within the domain of a branch of government titled "Division of Open Government."

Yeah, that's a hair only a lawyer could split.

So I have now filed a complaint with the State Ethics Division.  Let's hope he gives better legal advice to the Select Board this time around.

State Ethics Commission
Enforcement Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 619
Boston, MA 02108-1501

To Whom It May Concern,

I wish to file a formal complaint concerning an accidental violation of state ethics law — especially as it relates to the “appearance of a conflict of interest” — by Amherst Select Board Chair Alisa Brewer at the Select Board December 21 regular Monday night meeting (although at an unusual time). 

The five member Select Board voted unanimously to allow Interim Town Manager Dave Ziomek to sign a 3.5 year Strategic Partnership Agreement with UMass/Amherst, the town’s largest employer, that could be perceived as overly generous to UMass.

Chair Alisa Brewer shows up in the online data base of UMass employees although apparently she does not work directly for UMass.  Her husband Steven Brewer, however, is a full-time professor in the biology department. 

At that December 21 meeting she did not publicly announce her affiliation(s) with UMass prior to leading the discussion and then voting in the affirmative on the UMass Strategic Partnership (estimated value just over half million annually).

Back in September, 2007 (on or about 9/18/2007) I filed a complaint naming Alisa Brewer and Select Board member Rob Kusner, who was a professor at UMass, when they voted on an earlier version of the Strategic Partnership Agreement that gave UMass free effluent water for their power plant, when the previous year they had paid the Amherst water/sewer fund $38,0000 for it.

At the time both Select Board members made somewhat of an announcement of their affiliations with UMass, but neither had filed a disclosure form with the Town Clerk.  

Within a week of the 9/17/2007 meeting both had (retroactively) filed the disclosure form.  The Ethics Commission then found no violation had taken place since the Select Board members in question had made a public announcement prior to the discussion/vote and both had, eventually, filed a disclosure form with the Town Clerk.

Alisa Brewer’s disclosure form dated 9/25/2007 is still on file with the Town Clerk, but she clearly did not make the pubic announcement at the December 21 meeting acknowledging her potential conflict of interest.  

Although there were no members of the general public present at the meeting that night, all Select Board meetings are televised and live streamed by local cable access entity Amherst Media.

The town suffered a great loss back in September with the sudden death of Town Manager John Musante, so the Select Board has been far busier than normal over the past four months.  

Since I do not believe the lack of transparency was deliberate, I would simply ask the Ethics Commission to remind the Amherst Select Board how important it is for public officials to routinely avoid the “appearance of a conflict” with a quick simple public pronouncement prior to a discussion/vote.


Larry J. Kelley
596 South Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Appointing A New Leader

Town Hall in a fog since untimely death of John Musante September 20th

Since Amherst citizens are nothing if not outspoken the Amherst Select Board -- who expects to appoint a new Town Manager this summer -- wishes to hear your input at three upcoming forums about criteria for hiring that new leader:

Bernie Lynch from Community Paradigm Associates, seen here at 12/21 Select Board meeting, will facilitate

My only suggested requirement is that he/she have a thick skin.  But I'm sure they will be forewarned about the blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Déjà Vu Ethics Violation?

Amherst Select Board: town's highest ranking elected office

Interestingly the Select Board has been through this Conflict of Interest issue before, so you would think history would not repeat itself.

 Click to enlarge/read

Back in 2007 rookie Select Board members Alisa Brewer and Professor Rob Kusner voted to allow UMass free use of effluent water (in a close 3-2 vote) that normally would have cost them over $100,000 annually.  I instantly filed a complaint with the State Ethics Division.

 Note Ms. Brewer's body language

Interestingly they found no violation because the board members had (sort of) made a PUBLIC disclosure at the  9/17 meeting immediately before the discussion/vote.

And they had filed a disclosure form with the Town Clerk, although those forms were filed a week AFTER the 9/17/2007 Select Board meeting.

Note this disclosure filed 9/25 was for a 9/17 meeting

Whereas this time around Ms. Brewer still has the 2007 disclosure form on file, but she did NOT make a public announcement during the 12/21 meeting about her UMass affiliations.

Rob Kusner's disclosure filed 9/24 to cover a 9/17 meeting

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Conflict of Interest?

 Interim Town Manager Dave Ziomek, SB Chair Alisa Brewer

Attorney General Maura Healey
Division of Open Government

I wish to file a formal complaint about the 12/21 Amherst Select Board meeting that was chaired by Alisa Brewer, who shows up in the UMass/Amherst People Finder as a UMass employee, as does her husband, Steven Brewer.

Ms. Brewer did not publicly announce her potential conflict of interest when the Select Board voted unanimously to allow Interim Town Manager Dave Ziomek to sign a 3.5 year, multi-million dollar "Strategic Partnership Agreement" with UMass, her employer, that is a sweet deal for the University, a sour deal for the town. 

I'm not suggesting she or her husband gained financially by this deal, but I do strongly believe the better way of handling it would have been for her to abstain on the matter and certainly not to act as chair for the very brief time period allowed for Select Board discussion. 

I believe our state law suggests public officials avoid even "the appearance of a conflict of interest."

I would ask the Select Board be ordered to do a "do over."

Larry Kelley

At the 9/25 Select Board Cable Ascertainment Hearing Ms. Brewer did publicly announce she was married to Steven Brewer before he testified in his role as Amherst Media Board President

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Status Quo Before The Storm

Alisa Brewer (left center) Jim Wald (right) at Monday Select Board meeting

With incumbents Alisa Brewer and Jim Wald running for reelection to the highest elected position the town has to offer, one-fifth of a mayor, the 5 member Select Board will maintain its steady if not staid course.

No small feat after the tragic sudden death of Town Manager John Musante.

Because there are two Select Board seats open that means voters get to vote for two candidates.  And since Mr. Wald and SB Chair Brewer have worked side-by-side together over the past six years it's a pretty safe bet who they will each tell their friends to support with that second vote.

If Alisa has 1,500 voters who go to the polls specifically to support her and Mr. Wald also has 1,500 to specifically support him but each supporter casts their second vote properly then both candidates end up with 3,000 votes.

Makes it kind of hard for an independent lone wolf candidate to rack up a victory, even when second place counts as winning.

In fact, as often is the case with Select Board recently, there may not even be a contest other than the two guaranteed winners.  And normally that would translate to an all too typical pathetic local voter turnout, which every now and then barely manages to break 10%.

But not this time -- not by a long shot.  With the Charter change question on the ballot -- bringing with it the glorious opportunity to terminate tedious Town Meeting -- the voter turnout will easily surpass 30%.

The 9 member Charter Commission should be able to produce a new and improved blueprint for better local government (Anything But Town Meeting)  in time for the 2017 election.

And in the meantime, Alisa Brewer and Jim Wald will do a fine job keeping those Select Board seats warm.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Troubles At The Top?

Town Manager Musante (right), SB Chair Alisa Brewer (left)

Tonight the long awaited evaluation of the Town Manager by the 5 member elected Select Board on his progress with 15 goals in various areas of responsibility showed interesting criticism from the two most experienced members of our executive branch -- Chair Alisa Brewer and Jim Wald.

Ms. Brewer gave Mr. Musante "unsatisfactory" a total of nine times (out of possible 44) while Mr. Wald checked it off five times.

Brewer and Wald were in unanimous agreement in response to goal #5, "Relationship With the Select Board"  by giving him "unsatisfactory" to the same five of eight statements. Ouch!

Brewer and Wald checked off "unsatisfactory" to 5 of 8 statements

In fact the other three SB members did not issue a single "unsatisfactory" out of all 44 response statements.

Last week 13 current and former Regional School officials evaluated Superintendent Maria Geryk, currently the highest paid town employee ($158,000), on a bevy of criteria but only a single "unsatisfactory" was issued.

The Select Board will meet again before the end of the month in Executive Session to make Mr. Musante a contract offer and presumably a raise from his current $150,000 salary.

So it will be interesting to see -- especially with this surprising number of "unsatisfactory" scores -- if he gets the 5.5% raise necessary to make him the highest paid employee in town.

Click to enlarge/read
Although statement G should probably include Blogs, Facebook and Twitter 

Click to enlarge/read

 Selectman Jim Wald reacts to media coverage (and my title) on his blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Town Building Report

24,000 sq ft Wastewater Treatment Plant built 1923, value $13 million

Last night the Amherst Select Board, after many years of asking, finally received a 65 page draft inventory report of all the buildings owned by the town.

Put together by Director of Facilities and Maintenance Ron Bohonowicz, the inventory catalogs when the building was constructed, recent renovations, total square footage, estimated value and  a recommendation for future use.

One measurement that stimulated the most discussion was the "Mission Dependency Index," or how important/critical is a building to the town.  Obviously Police and Fire scored high with 100 and 99 respectively (out of 100).

So did anything to do with water.  And anyone who has ever watched Survivor knows water is your first priority.

22,480 sq ft Town Hall built 1889, value $6.5 million

But the Jones Library only measured a 50 and that left a bad taste in the mouths of our bookish Select Board.  So they voted to have Mr. Bohonowicz scratch that measurement.

And the Select Board did show some concern that perhaps Mr. Bohonowicz crossed over into "policy" with some of his comments.

For instance he mentions the worst kept secret in town that if the current DPW building is abandoned for a new facility it would make a great location for the (too) L-O-N-G talked about new Fire Station.

Or under Recreation he states the Walmart quality Cherry Hill Golf Course Clubhouse, "Should be eliminated if there was to be any type of major renovation."  At the Select Board meeting last night he called it "disposable."  (Kind of like the golf course itself).

 5,600 sq ft War Memorial Pool built 1960, value $243,000 (surrounding play area not so much)

The report is considered a "living document" and will be amended and upgraded over the years.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

No Laughing Matter

Highest elected officials in town are paid $300 annually

Saying that when she mentions their annual $300 stipend most people laugh, Select Board member Connie Kruger told the Finance Committee this morning the Select Board compensation issue, although awkward for her to talk about because of obvious self-interest, boils down to "respect of the office."

Select Board members are reimbursed for some out-of-pocket expenses, but the issue really is their time. Lots of it.  This past Fiscal Year they met 33 times, with each meeting lasting around three hours.   Not to mention all the prep time preparing for each meeting. 

And the simply fact that their stipend (and that of the Moderator) has not increased since the mid-1970s, so inflation alone calls for quadrupling the current amount.

 Finance Committee this morning.  Chair Kay Moran 2nd from right

Most Finance Committee members were sympathetic to the issue with member Bernie Kubiak agreeing strongly:  "It should be increased considering the importance and amount of time ... I think $300 is a joke”

But newly reelected Chair Kay Moran thought it was a "policy issue" that should first be fleshed out with an exact amount by either the Select Board or a committee they appoint, and then come back to the Finance Committee like any financial article.

Member Steve Braun had to leave early before a vote was taken but told the committee on his way out, "I'm in favor of raising it."

Vice Chair Marylou Theilman made a motion to "Refer the question of compensation/stipend back to the Select Board as a policy issue."  That motion passed unanimously 6-0.

Connie Kruger said she was happy with that, as the Select Board may now feel more comfortable discussing the issue.

In other financial matters the Finance Committee voted unanimously to transfer $251,176 from their "Reserve Fund" to last year's DPW budget to cover cost overruns on "snow and ice removal."

The original $280,000 DPW budget was overrun by almost twice the amount, coming in at $531,000.

Area compensations.  Described as "all over the map."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Select Board Mini Meeting

Amherst Select Board (4 out of 5) and acting Town Manager Dave Ziomek

The Amherst Select Board met in public session this afternoon in the Town  Manager's office in Town Hall mainly to approve committee appointments, as the new fiscal year started July 1st.

And in the brief 24 minute meeting the Board voted unanimously to approve 16 appointments of which six were confirming the Town Manager appointees.

 All were approved unanimously

But they did hear some good breaking news from Finance Director Sandy Pooler concerning the state budget, which is expected to be finalized by the legislature later today, mainly related to our schools.

Chapter 70 aid, Charter reimbursements, Circuit Breaker Special Education money and Transportation reimbursements are all up slightly, as was Unrestricted Local Aid for the town side of the budget.

Payment In Lieu Of Taxes for that behemoth we host, UMass, is unfortunately level funded.  And the Community Preservation Act reimbursement will be only 18%, so for every dollar Amherst homeowners paid in, the state will match 18 cents.

The acting Town Manager report from Dave Ziomek, filling in for John Musante who is attending a professional development program over the next three weeks, was short and concise:  "Things are going extremely well."

Under calender preview the board confirmed they will next meet in regular session July 27th, then three meetings in August all involving the Town Manager evaluation.  August 18th and the 19th (if needed) and then August 24 where they will meet briefly in open session and then go into Executive Session to hammer out a new contract for Mr. Musante.

The Town Manger currently makes $150,000 annually but is not the top paid municipal employee.  School Superintendent Maria Geryk holds that distinction with a cool $158,000 salary.

New up to date picture of Select Board was recently installed in Town Hall courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


"... that these dead shall not have died in vain."

About the only thing I left out in my brief polite presentation to the Amherst Select Board Monday night is how cowardly it is to simply pocket veto the question of allowing the commemorative flags to fly on 9/11 tomorrow, on the unlucky 13th anniversary of that devastating day.

A cowardice that flies in the face of the ultimate sacrifice paid by over 400 first responders who rushed headlong towards the stricken Twin Towers and the Pentagon when everyone else was rushing away.

AFD Central Station 9/11/13  (This year ceremony starts at 9:00 AM)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Et Tu, Select Board?

Amherst Select Board 6:29 PM 9/8/14

So it looks like Amherst Select Board Chair Aaron Hayden is taking lessons from former Regional School Committee Chair Lawrence O'Brien when it comes to stifling public comment at a public meeting.

And that, Mr. Hayden should take note, is the key reason why Mr. O'Brien quickly became a former Chair. 

Two weeks ago both John Fox and I appeared before the SB during the 6:30 Public Comment period with our own pet peeves and asked to be placed on the agenda for the 9/8 meeting to have a full public discussion.

Apparently none of the 5 members of the board thought it important enough to request the matters be officially placed on the agenda.

According to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law if an item does not appear on a published agenda at least 48 hours before a meeting, the body cannot discuss it -- let alone take a vote. So that's why questions and concerns brought up during the 6:30 Public Comment period cannot be acted upon, although they do have the benefit of media amplification.

But it sounds to me like Mr. Hayden, who used up over 5 minutes making his comments, is rethinking the entire Public Comment Period.  Maybe he will call it the "Shut The Hell Up" Period.

Then we can change the unofficial town motto from "Amherst, where only the H is silent" to "Amherst, where even the H is silent."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Helen (Ice) Berg Strikes Again

A happy Helen Berg at Select Board meeting 3/31

At tonight's Select Board meeting during the 6:30 p.m. "public comment" period former (or maybe not) Select Board candidate Helen Berg confirmed she has contacted the ACLU and Attorney General regarding her complaint about ballot placement.

Berg, who came in a distant 3rd at the annual Town Election last week, complained to town officials when her name appeared 3rd of the 4 Select Board candidates.  Berg insisted she should be 1st as state statute says non-incumbents (in this case all four candidates) should be placed on the ballot alphabetically.

Town officials did throw out those ballots and arranged a do-over drawing of names because the original meeting of the Board of Registrars was not properly posted.  But they continued to use the traditional method of randomly drawing names from a hat rather than using the state method, which would have place Berg in the top position.

Either way the two top vote getters enjoyed a more than four-to-one margin of victory.  Berg will have a hard time convincing a judge that placement on the ballot alone cause such a dramatic thrashing.  Although, judges are known to be sticklers when it comes to rule of law.

Another town election would cost taxpayers $12,000.

If you like this story help make this happen:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Select Board Contest Gets Interesting

Town Clerk's Tally Sheet 

So now we have four Amherst citizens who have "taken out papers" for Amherst Select Board, which has two seats (out of five) up for grabs at the March 25 annual election, as both incumbents decided to retire.

Because two seats are open voters get to vote twice -- but, obviously, not for one candidate.  So it's not a Chicago Boss Hog kind of thing; just a normal, legal Amherst way of dealing with multi-player positions like Select Board, where all five combined equal a Mayor.  Sort of.

The two latest entries are Helen Berg and Yeshaq Warren.  Ms Berg filed a warrant article for Amherst Town Meeting last spring to fund extra PVTA bus runs to the Survival Center on Sunderland Road, which was defeated.  Other than that, no extensive public service experience in town. 

Yeshaq Warren took out papers five years ago for Select Board but never handed them in because as he commented on my post at the time:  "I was just incarcerated so I could not turn them in."  Um, yeah, now there's a Hell of an excuse.

And only two years ago APD arrested Yeshaq Warren for "assaulting a pregnant woman."  So maybe he figures Amherst Select Board members, in addition to their whopping $300 annual pay, also get a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card. 

Candidates have until February 4th to return their papers with the signatures of 50 registered voters. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

United We, Sort Of, Stand

UN flag flies 24/7, 365 days a year in front of Amherst Town Hall

One of the earlier political "firsts" for the loquacious little town of Amherst, trumpeted nationwide via the Associated Press (because print media loves "firsts") a generation ago, is still visible to this very day flying only yards from Town Hall.

And still talked about by Town officials.

Last Monday, with little comment, the Amherst Select Board voted unanimously to declare October 24 "United Nations Day" in Amherst.

Just as 40 years ago Amherst went all out to celebrate the anniversary (started in 1948) by becoming the fist "town" in America to "permanently" fly the UN Flag at their seat of government.

New York City and Los Angeles also fly the UN flag but they are, um, cities.

The late 60s and early 70s was a time of nationwide political upheaval -- especially in "college towns" -- mainly focused on the Vietnam War. Thus the anti-war movement found fertile ground in Amherst, "where only the h is silent".

And to this day, in town center, the weekly vigil for peace still holds court starting at high noon.

The fly the blue flag movement started with Mrs. Robert McGarrah, "housewife" of a UMass professor (naturally), who collected over 500 signatures in November, 1972 on a petition presented to the Amherst Select Board.  The first week of December the SB voted unanimously to approve the idea.


And as we know from the festering controversy over flying commemorative American flags on 9/11, which is banned four-out-of-every-five years, the Select Board alone has final say over the public way.

Ironically the petition stated:  "We can be patriotic citizens of the United States and a patriotic country in the world community."

Patriotic indeed.  

Monday, September 16, 2013


Amherst Town Center 9/11/11.  Commemorative flags will not fly again until 2016, unless

So I'm trying to anticipate the excuse the Amherst Select Board will conjure up this evening during the 7:15 PM flag discussion to reject placing on the local 3/25/14 election ballot the never ending question of flying the commemorative flags every 9/11, thus allowing the voters decide this issue once and for all.

Sure they will mention the shameful 2007 Amherst Town Meeting vote by a whopping 96-41 not to fly the flags annually.  And that advisory resolution had requested they fly at half staff, which completely negates the argument that the commemorative flags are  "too festive."

Kind of hard for the average person to misread the intentions of twenty nine 3' by 5' American flags at half staff.

And I'm sure one of them will argue that governance by referendum can be a dangerous thing.  Would slavery had ended 150 years ago if it were put up to a popular vote at the time?  Or would women have been given the right to vote in 1920 if it had been decided at the ballot box?

Of course the counter to that is we are Amherst, the only town (according to Tracy Kidder) with a "foreign policy." So sure, historically speaking the townspeople would have done the right thing.

As they will do on March 25 if the Select Board has the courage to allow this festering issue to come to a vote.

After all, they seem to love the tagline:  "Amherst, where only the h is silent."  Then why not let the people speak?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Let's Take A Vote

Shanksville Pennsylvania 10:04 AM 9/11/01

 As Flight 93 streaked toward Washington D.C. that fateful morning, passengers huddled in the back of the plane realized they had become unwilling conscripts in a suicide mission. So they decided to do something about it. 

But before they made their desperate, valiant attempt to retake the plane, they did something as American as apple pie: they took a vote.

Men and women from all walks of life decided -- in the most democratic manner possible -- to go to war defending their country.

Although they fell short of the objective that awful morning, their supreme sacrifice saved scores of fellow Americans and represented the first tactical victory in "the war on terror."

So I suppose it's fitting that the Amherst Select Board agenda for Monday night's meeting was finalized on Wednesday afternoon, the 12th anniversary of the most heinous attack on American soil in our entire history.

The Select Board will act on a voter petition I handed in two weeks ago with more than the requisite number of signatures, requesting they place the "only in Amherst" controversy of flying commemorative flags on 9/11 before the voters this March 25.

(Last year's annual town election had a 7% turnout.)

Whether you think the commemorative flags should fly annually on 9/11 -- as they do on Memorial Day -- or agree that once every five years is sufficient, surely we can all agree there's no harm in confirming that with "The People."

After all, isn't that one of the most cherished rights our flag represents?  

"We the People," cordially request ...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Final (And Future) Request

"The People" wish to weigh in ...

Memo:  Amherst Select Board
Re:  Citizen Petition to fly the commemorative flags every 9/11

The Town Clerk informs me all the signatures required for requesting that you place the 9/11 commemorative flags advisory question before the voters on March 25, 2014 were certified.

I would ask that you take up official discussion of this at your next scheduled meeting Monday, September 16, while the awful anniversary is still fresh in our minds. 

As you know this petition now has to be acted on by you at least 90 days prior to March 25.  

I would also point out that you have until close of business tomorrow to call a Select Board meeting for Monday, September 9 ... in time for allowing the flags to fly this coming 9/11.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Larry Kelley

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Sterling Review ... Well, Almost

Amherst Select Board review of Town Manager John Musante this evening

As expected the Select Board annual review of Town Manager John Musante, our highest ranking but only second highest paid town employee, was a cordial affair with fiscal matters garnering across the board highest "commendable" ratings from all five SB members.

But a dark cloud or two appeared on the otherwise sunny landscape with the issue of dealing with the town's surplus buildings garnering  "unsatisfactory" rating from Alisa Brewer, Diana Stein, and Aaron Hayden while the other two checked off "needs improvement". 

But when referencing things that need improvement SB Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe was quick to remind the board that overall the review was "overwhelmingly positive."

The only other "unsatisfactory" rating came from Alisa Brewer for communication issues, like reading things in the newspapers before the board has been apprised about an issue.

 Alisa Brewer:  Most critical but also most effusive

She mentions "dropping the ball" with  the "Blarney Blowout" where things were reported as going well in the downtown that Saturday, but all hell broke loose in North Amherst -- not that the newspapers figured that out very quickly.

And the recent Rental Bylaw Implementation Group was announced on the pages of the Daily Hampshire Gazette before the Select Board was informed (maybe the Town Manager figures they no longer read the Gazette).

Town Manager speaking to Town Meeting in favor of Rental Registration Bylaw

The Town Manager also received high marks for his relations with the Select Board and Town Meeting, with three SB members giving him across the board highest rating and O'Keeffe and Brewer looking for improvement.

Other areas that need improvement are communications with the general public and lower echelon (non management level) town employees.  Staff morale  -- especially in the fire department and DPW -- could also be better.

The handling of housing issues, what many believe to be the #1 problem facing Amherst today, also garnered the concern of the Select Board.  Especially affordable housing.

The about-to-occur loss of Rolling Green's 204 apartment units from the town's Subsidized Housing Inventory is pretty much a disaster.  

Opportunity Lost?

Last year at the 8/27 Amherst Select Board meeting Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe did not even allow the board, our executive branch, to vote on the request to fly the 29 commemorative flags in the downtown on 9/11.

The town routinely flies the flags, purchased in the summer of 2001,  on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, July 4th, Patriots Day and yes, even Labor Day (coming soon).

But in her closing remarks she was "sure Mr Kelley would bring this back next year, and he should do that."

And even Select Board member Aaron Hayden (who always votes "No") also remarked that night "This is an opportunity for us to really sort of put our heads together and be thoughtful, out loud, about important issues -- clearly important issues -- so I do appreciate that opportunity."

Now it's beginning to look like the issue will not even be allowed on the agenda for the SB 8/26 meeting, the last meeting prior to that awful anniversary. The old ignore it and hope it goes away routine.

So much for appreciating "that opportunity." 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Tragic Reminder

Tip of the North Tower, after the fall

Memo: Amherst Select Board
Re: Annual Request to remember/honor 3,000 murdered Americans

Since the Select Board will not have a "Public Comment/Question" period on Monday, August 19 and since the SB only meets one more time prior to that stunningly sad anniversary, please consider this a formal request to place on the August 26 agenda for public discussion the unresolved issue of allowing the 29 commemorative flags to fly in the downtown on 9/11/13, the 12th anniversary of the most heinous attack on American soil in our entire history.

Furthermore I would request 9/11 be added to current list of six days the commemorative flags fly annually.

I would also point out that one of those approved occasions is Memorial Day, not exactly "celebratory" -- but a national day of mourning and remembrance for those who perished protecting our most cherished freedoms.  

One of which is to "petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Thank you,

Larry Kelley

From: Stephanie O'Keeffe
To: Larry Kelley
Cc: Select Board ; John Musante ; David Ziomek
Sent: Sat, Aug 17, 2013 2:07 pm
Subject: Re: 9/11
Larry --
If any Select Board member supports the request that this be put on the 8/26 agenda, I will schedule it and let you know.

Take care.


From: Larry Kelley
To: stephanie
Cc: selectboard ; MusanteJ ; ZiomekD
Sent: Mon, Aug 19, 2013 7:41 am
Subject: Re: 9/11


Since I am now getting numerous inquiries could you please announce at tonight's SB meeting
one way or the other whether flying the flags on 9/11 will be placed on the 8/26 agenda? I know tonight's meeting is only a single issue affair concerning the Town Manager's evaluation but I did note the item "Calendar Preview:Upcoming Meeting Plans" on the agenda.And 9/11 is upcoming.
Thanks, Larry

 Somewhat stunning reaction on Facebook, ghost of Jennie Traschen