Nerney offers his support for Leach

Nerney offers his support for Leach

There has been a well-planned, systematic attempt to remove from office any public servant who has worked to preserve the rural characteristics of our town.

Although these malicious attacks have been ongoing for many years, recently, greater effort is evident with politically motivated and patently unfounded assaults upon Councilwoman Maxine Cavanagh, Land Trust Chairwoman Barbara Rich, longtime Councilman Al LaGreca, and our Town Solicitor Ed Alves. Such smear tactics on the character of good people played a major role in removing the two latter officials.

The latest effort is this council’s failure to reappoint Robert Leach to the Historic Preservation Commission which Robert co-founded. Robert has demonstrated many years of accomplished historic preservation projects in which he has played a leadership role. These include: Fort Adams, Castle Hill, P Benjamin, Van der Wal, and Holmes Bristol. He has also donated his service to the circa 1822 Smithfield Exchange Bank on Route 44, Putnam Pike, and with the installation of colonial lighting, changing the character of downtown Greenville.

One of the more recent is the Door Rebellion Museum in the center of Chepachet which took 11 years of professional services to bring to fruition working with the Glocester Heritage Society. Anyone involved in the field of historic preservation can realize and appreciate the time and effort it takes to complete such projects. Restoration generally requires much more time than renovation. One would expect some town officials to know this.

Currently, Robert is restoring his home, the Captain Andrew Waterman-Foster House (circa 1750). Waterman-Fosterson is a Founding Father of Smithfield, and a signer of the R.I. Declaration of Independence. That Robert would be penalized for the arduous task of restoring this very significant historic structure by removing him from the Historic Preservation Commission is both startling and ironic.

To some people, the concept of public service is totally incomprehensible. Blinded by the dollar sign, they view giving of one’s time solely in terms of profit and self-aggrandizement. Thus they attempt to sully the reputation of the generous “givers.”

However, town officials are not the only realm subject to attack by the development lobby. Another example is anyone who opposes the Sand Trace Development, which provides for 180 units in an R-80 zone. And I could cite others.

The best solution I can find to put an end to such nonsense and selfishness, is to unite against it and eliminate decisions influenced by campaign contributions from the development lobby.

United we stand.

Gloria P. Nerney,

Former Smithfield Planning Board member, council member, administrator, and manager.