Land Trust ‘misappropriation’ of town funds? ‘He is lying’

Land Trust ‘misappropriation’ of town funds? ‘He is lying’

I want to thank the Smithfield Town Council for their ability to keep a cool head in dealing with the disruptions that are occurring at their meetings. Most of the disruptions are partisan attacks couched in legalese language to sound smart or important, I am not sure which. I have been silent up to now because I know that one cannot change a person’s mind or their opinions by presenting a factual and truthful argument in the environment that has been created at the Town Council meetings.

At last night’s meeting (Oct. 3) Mr. Constantino threw out a sentence that “the Land Trust had misappropriated funds” in the purchase of some properties. I must speak out because he is lying, not merely throwing out his opinions. I have been on the Land Trust for about 12 years. I serve with eight other Smithfield residents. I am defending those volunteers who give of their time, energy and expertise to make Smithfield a great place to live, work and play.

The Land Trust members are neighbors who live in Smithfield. We work closely with the Town Council to make good decisions about protecting our community. There have been five different elected councils during the time the properties in question were purchased and protected. We sometimes take as many as two years to complete these transactions. There is research and evaluation that goes into these transactions.

The Land Trust creates trails and maps for our properties. We work with Eagle Scouts on projects to enhance our properties. We have a Cub Scout troop that has adopted a property. We help to create habitat for our wildlife, protect our waterways, help the farmers in our community to enhance and protect their farms. We help to protect the history of Smithfield. Most of the residents of Smithfield like what we do and support our mission to keep Smithfield a wonderful place to live.

The Town Council is creating a forum for the complaints of those people who have been disrupting their meetings by creating workshops with the commissions. Putting these accusations and opinions in the appropriate place is the sensible approach. It will provide a place to discuss rather than accuse.

Barbara J. Rich


Rich is chair of the Smithfield Land Trust