Letter: McLaughlin’s tall ‘tale’ is wagging this dog

Posted 9/12/19

To the editor:

McLaughlin’s allegation that this town council is not representing the will of the voters is a tall tale divorced from reality.

There were 18 candidates who ran for the Town …

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Letter: McLaughlin’s tall ‘tale’ is wagging this dog


To the editor:

McLaughlin’s allegation that this town council is not representing the will of the voters is a tall tale divorced from reality.

There were 18 candidates who ran for the Town Council in November 2018 and the “will of the people” elected as the majority Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA)-endorsed candidates: Donna Cook, Robert Coulter, Nancy Driggs, and Justin Katz. (Donna Cook, Justin Katz, and Nancy Driggs – in that order - being the highest vote getters.) Yet the lowest vote getter, William McLaughlin, joined by town council minority members, former president Denise DeMedeiros and Patricia Hilton, now claim to represent the will of the people in their down-is up and up-is-down topsy-turvy world.

But, if the majority who voted for this town council feel it was misled and its will is not being represented, where are its voices, where is its outrage? If the actions of this town council are so egregious, then why was third lowest vote-getter David Paull’s ethics complaint against Coulter, Driggs and Katz dismissed? And why were the DeMedeiros and Hilton Open Meetings Act charges dismissed? How come McLaughlin’s (the lowest vote getter) and two council minority members’ strident voices are all we hear?

Speculation about why this recall scheme was begun and has the support of DeMedeiros and Hilton includes McLaughlin wanting to change the town council majority to ensure settlement of his $4 million lawsuit against the town, and DeMedeiros and Hilton itching to be in control of the town council again.

What is not speculation is this town council’s accomplishments to date and its future plans: Contrary to McLaughlin’s allegations, it has expanded civil debate by allowing public comment on agenda items, and access to the agenda itself; Katz and Cook, the town council liaisons in the firefighters’ union contract negotiation, successively, and creatively, negotiated a contract and forestalled the anticipated need for arbitration which saved the town between $50,000 and up to $100,000 in legal fees; It scrapped a solar ordinance poorly conceived by the prior DeMedeiros town council and tasked the Planning Board for its input on future solar energy projects. (Unfortunately, for legal reasons some solar projects which had been approved when the solar ordinance was in effect can proceed); And, among other items, it is working on a long-term financial plan, ordinances such as an employee code of conduct to govern the right to receive certain benefits upon termination, and increasing openness and transparency in its actions (which too often in the past were shielded from public scrutiny in executive sessions).

You can defeat McLaughlin’s political stunt fostered and supported by sore losers, by not voting in the election. Because the recall charter provision requires a certain number of people to vote in the election, by not voting and keeping that number low you are helping to reject the recall petition power grab of McLaughlin and his cohorts which is so clearly against the will of the people.

Nancy L. Driggs

Member, Tiverton Town Council

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