For the second weekend in a row, I read with amusement the Reporter’s “breaking news” about investigations over personnel matters at the village and now the town offices. But my amusement is beginning to turn into disgust. Clearly, your writer will not be satisfied until he can find a story, even if he has to create one by insinuating cloak-and-dagger impropriety at every turn. It does not seem to occur to him that village and town trustees may have very good reasons for not wanting to provide information about an investigation that could identify an employee, especially if that person has not been found to have acted inappropriately. Not all allegations need to be amplified by the megaphone of media.
But we live in a time when many people believe that government can never, ever be trusted and is always and necessarily up to mischief. How sad.
I have no connections to anyone in the town or village government and no knowledge of what has happened to prompt the personnel investigations but I can think of plenty of possible reasons why the trustees might not want to share information about personnel matters with your reporter. Here’s hoping you will use your cover page to report on more pressing issues going forward.
Secrecy should be exposed
My compliments to reporter Colin Flanders for trying to dig out the story behind the town and village investigation into alleged wrongdoing by a public employee. Somehow the terms “private investigator” and “$10K in legal fees” suggest that this is no run-of-the-mill personnel matter but an issue of much larger significance. In my opinion, town and village officials, especially selectboard chairman Max Levy, revert to form in trying to hide and obfuscate what exactly is going on, and given my prior experience on the selectboard, this is not surprising.
As my old boss, the late Gov. Richard Snelling, used to say, “In the absence of data, you supply your own.” In this matter, I can only speculate that, because both town and village governments are involved, the allegations could possibly focus on an employee who serves both governments. Perhaps this speculation misses the bullseye by a mile, but as long as Mr. Levy apparently tries to misdirect legitimate press inquiries by attempting to brush certain things off, as Mr. Flanders suggests, we may never know. Absent transparency, folks in our community can justifiably conclude, as Marcellus did in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there is indeed “something rotten in the state of Denmark” or, at least, the Town of Essex.
Bruce S. Post
Former member, Essex Selectboard