Letter: Coronavirus a Poor Excuse to Forgo Public Participation

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Many thanks to CT Examiner regarding the Old Lyme WPCA meeting Tuesday April 14th. So glad someone was listening.

We, the Old Lyme tax payers, waited patiently Tuesday evening for about 45 minutes even after the chairman accidentally disconnected the meeting line to attend an executive session. 

We, the Old Lyme tax payers, wanted to know what was going on with the cost sharing agreement, with the changes to the benefit assessment calculations, with the easement agreement between Old Lyme and the private beaches. 

We, the tax payers, wanted to know why a $615,000 contract was granted without going out to bid. We wanted to know if future potential million- dollar contracts for construction, would be handled the same way. We waited, patiently, only to be told… nothing. No details on these critical issues.

After 45 minutes on hold, the only thing we were told by Chairman Prendergast, (appointed during the Bonnie Reemsnyder regime) was that it was within his power to say there would be no public comment, no questions, (therefore no answers), since he could not see us on the phone line.  Huh? 

Prendergast stated there would be no public input at town WPCA meetings until the Coronavirus was resolved.  It’s his right as chairman to enforce that, he said. To those of us who waited on hold to ask questions, it sounded like a flagrant excuse – a way to move aggressively forward on a controversial $9.5 project – without public accountability.

Those critical decisions now being made behind closed doors, may force some us on fixed, marginal incomes, out of our Old Lyme homes.  We have a right to know.  Our expressed objections Tuesday were not even mentioned in the published minutes. We are the invisible tax payers.

We reach out to our newly elected town selectmen and woman to correct blatant misuse of power. We depend on them to do so. Mean time I’ll say it again.  Shame on any public official – appointed or elected – who uses this deadly world-wide crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and will ultimately cause millions to lose their homes, as a cloak to hide behind. It’s embarrassing.  Shame on you. 

Thank you, all of our critical blue and white-collar workers who risk their lives every day to keep our country afloat.   You are true heroes.   Thank you.

Mary Daley
Old Lyme

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