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Letter: Selectman's Behavior 'Casts Doubt' on Ability to Represent Town in Mediation

Medfield resident Jessica Benson writes in to voice her concern over Board of Selectmen chair Ann Thompson's "behavior" at Tuesday's meeting after Thompson repeatedly tried to end public discussion on the Medfield State Hospital and move on in the agenda.

To the editor,  

The article, "," does not mention that Ann Thompson, after hearing formal reports on the cleanup, tried to limit the public’s ability to voice concerns about what was presented and ask questions, and only allowed discussion when Pete Peterson stepped in to let people talk and discuss their concerns about the upcoming mediation.

When you have leaders in your town that refuse to listen to their constituents' concerns at a public meeting, then I think, with all due respect to Mike Sullivan, it is difficult to have FAITH in their leadership. At one point, Ann questioned my stake in this by asking me how long have I lived in town compared to her. That doesn't matter Ann, and for your information, I’ve been here for three years, and whether or not I have been here three years or 30 years, your job as selectman is to listen to the public, especially the public that shows up at a meeting.

My fellow residents, watch Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting on Medfield.TV to get the full view of what really happened. It's disturbing to me to say the least to see the way we were shut down when we were only trying to get some more answers. Ann said, as justification for shutting down the topic, that according to her constituents, people are tired of hearing about Hospital Hill cleanup. I think the truth is closer to the fact that Ann is tired of the conversation around it. 

With all due respect to Ann’s many years of positive service to Medfield while on the board, on this subject, her behavior at this meeting in trying to deny the public’s right to be heard casts serious doubt on her ability to adequately represent the town in mediation. If you are unwilling to listen to your constituents at a public meeting on Medfield State Hospital and in fact, try to repeatedly shut down conversation, how can we have any assurance that you will strongly advocate for us behind closed doors in mediation? 

I am asking that Ann recuse herself from the mediation committee and appoint as her replacement, Pete Peterson, who is the natural person to have because he is the one that Bill Massaro has said has given the most support to pushing DCAM for the most thorough cleanup.   

Regards,

Jessica Benson
Medfield resident

Jeremie Smith (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Jessica, I just wanted to clarify the intent of the article you reference in your letter. The article was meant to focus solely on the questions and concerns re: the town’s mediation with DCAM over the extent of cleanup to be done at the Medfield State Hospital. The article was not meant to be a recap of the meeting but to focus on the main topic discussed between residents and town officials, which was mediation, its process and why the town has agreed to do it. As you can see from reading the article, and know from attending the meeting, there was a lot of information about mediation. Adding the other issues that arose in Tuesday’s discussion in this particular article would have made it unreadable because of its length. As a result, I will be reporting on the other issues discussed Tuesday, including Thompson’s attempts to end public discussion and move on to other items in the agenda and publishing in separate articles. I believe all the information discussed needs to be presented prominently to residents/readers in separate articles. However, Thompson’s actions at Tuesday’s meeting did not go unreported Wednesday as it was referenced (briefly) in the initial Selectmen article published Wednesday morning – recapping what was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting – with intent on expanding on the issue in Thursday’s edition of Medfield Patch. I want to thank you for your comments and your letter – both are appreciated. Jeremie Smith Editor
Teri April 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Thank you Jessica for writing this letter and for bringing attention to this topic. I watched the meeting on TV and was frustrated by the repeated attempts to stop such an important discussion. The clean up is a very serious concern for the town. The town leaders are voted into office by the people, to be the voice for the people. How do you know what the people want when you cut them off and don't listen to them? I appreciate Pete Peterson giving a voice to the people of Medfield during this open meeting.

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