In town-paid FTM mailer, citizen comes under attack

In town-paid FTM mailer, citizen comes under attack

All individuals should feel free to express their opinion and advocate for causes without fear of being intimidated or attacked by our elected officials.

Scituate residents recently received a mailing ahead of this year’s Financial Town Meeting (FTM), which was held on April 3. Included in this mailing was a letter addressed from Council Chambers. It’s important to note that this letter clearly came from the Town Council majority (led by John Mahoney), as none of the Republican members of the Town Council were aware of the letter’s existence. You can find a copy of this letter on the town’s website.

While not mentioned by name, I was clearly the target in the Town Council majority’s letter for exercising my individual right to advocate for our schools at the 2017 FTM. Recall that the school district had been slated to run a $1 million operating deficit and there was a dire need for additional funding. While I happened to be the subject of reprisal in the Town Council majority’s letter, this isn’t about me. This is about individual citizens feeling empowered to express their opinion and advocate for causes without fear of retaliation from our elected officials. In their letter, the Town Council majority accused me of coming to the FTM armed with “special interest supporters” when, in fact, I was acting alone over concern for the schools. I just felt that I was doing the right thing by advocating for the education of our youth.

In addition to criticizing my individual actions, the Town Council majority used their letter to attack the basic concept of the FTM. They referred to the FTM as an “antiquated” and “archaic” process whereby a “few select individuals” can “take control of the town’s budget." It’s blatantly clear that the members of the Town Council majority are not fans of the FTM and they would apparently prefer that it be abolished. They are certainly entitled to their opinion. That said, it’s patently wrong to have used our taxpayer dollars to promote their individual position on our longstanding form of governing.

We expect more from our elected officials. They should respect our individual right to publicly express our opinions and to do so without concern over being bullied or intimidated.

Additionally, while the Town Council majority has the right to advocate for their favored form of governing, they shouldn’t be using our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund their ambitions. Push your agenda all you want but do it on your own dime!

Tim McCormick