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Letter to the Editor: Haddam’s Latest Debacle

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The latest Haddam debacle is just another case of inexperience and unprofessional behavior of a politician running for re-election. When we run for government office and get elected we take on new responsibilities and set of laws we have to live by. Any public meetings that we as selectmen hold with residents has to be held on public property and properly noticed in the newspaper well ahead of the meeting. We don’t hold our meeting in a private house and we don’t send out personal invitations. The public in general needs to be informed of the meeting and its purpose stated, for all to attend. When an official meeting of the governing selectmen is held all are to be present unless one cannot attend. If two selectmen cannot attend then the meeting is canceled. One selectman cannot hold a public meeting by themself.

Our First Selectman was in violation of the Connecticut State Statues. Was it her intent to garner favor with voters before an election in a particular district by giving them special attention and showing her concern for their circumstance? I’ll leave that decision up to the voters. If she had served on the Planning and Zoning Commission or on the Board of Finance before becoming a First Selectmen she would have been better prepared for the job. Videotaping the selectmen’s meetings for a number of years does not make you a selectman.

At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting held on February 4, 2015 First Selectman Schlag abdicated her authority as First Selectman to execute all documents for the sale of the property at 105 Bridge Road because she had previously opposed the sale of the property. When you take on the job of CEO of Haddam I hope you don’t think that you get to pick and choose what parts of the job you want to do. We as taxpayers expect you to put aside your personal opinions, act professionally, execute your authority, and do the job we are paying you to do.

We have all heard our First Selectman talk about the benefits and cost savings if we regionalize certain government functions. Whenever we join with another town or towns we lose local control. Think Regional School District and ask yourself how much money is that saving our town. Time and time again we have heard our First Selectman talk about how we need to increase our tax base by encouraging more business growth in Haddam yet her previous actions speak volumes about her real feeling about new business. She made a name for herself by killing a land swap that was supported by the majority of the taxpayers in Haddam. Yes I said majority. Two hundred signatures on a petition does not represent the more than five thousand people that live in Haddam. If the swap had gone through it would have increased the tax rolls, brought in more money to other business in Haddam, and most importantly it would have created much needed jobs in the Haddam area. When I told Rep. Miller that the creation of new jobs in Haddam was really exciting He said no big gain only part time jobs that don’t amount to much. I wondered if he knew how many people are working two or three part time jobs just to make ends meet, much less have anything left over. Just another one of her mentors, and we wonder why she thinks grant money from Dan Malloy is free. Oh here is some free money and by the way I’m going to raise your taxes ( after the elections ). Oh and let’s not forget the previous mentioned sale and development of 105 Bridge Road that she opposed.

Let’s change our future, let’s elect some who’s had experience serving on the Board of Finance and knows how to put together a responsible budget for our town that doesn’t gut our services just to make someone look good. You can’t cut the number of personnel in the tax office in half by refusing to hire a replacement for someone who has retired when there are only two people in there to begin with and then expect the Tax Office to stay open during lunch. Lizz Milardo has committed herself to being a full time First Selectman while still maintaining her private business with the help of her employees. In today’s world many business operate in the same fashion with the use of smart phones and texting. Oversight is all that is necessary with an established business of her type and will not impede nor hinder an accomplished person such as Lizz. We need to restore our faith in government first by electing hard working, competent officials who know the laws and are willing to abide by them and that’s why I’m supporting Lizz Milardo for the position of First Selectman.

Former Democratic Selectman

Peter Arseneault

2 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Haddam’s Latest Debacle

  1. Sue Twachtman

    October 31, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Just imagine what Melissa, her supporters and the Haddam Bulletin would say if the Board of Education held “private” meetings in homes without proper notice? It is not only wrong but is irresponsible, regardless of intentions.

    Not long ago, Melissa called the BOE “irresponsible” publicly at a Selectman’s meeting. That is a pretty charged word and the comment was not only unprofessional, but completely unwarranted. Let it be known that not once did Melissa ask or discuss the particular matter with the BOE or the superintendent of schools prior to making that disparaging statement publicly on September 2nd.

    The matter had to do with a Board member who had been absent for months. The Board had been actively calling and emailing this member but received no response. In the BOE minutes, it was discussed and our Board clerk was assigned the task of trying to locate this member in addition to my continued efforts. The RTC was contacted very early on and they left notes at the house, sent certified mail, and called to no avail. Please note: the BOE is unable to replace elected members. This individual was still listed as a registered voter in town, and his intentions were unknown. He is active in the Navy, and is sometimes called for duty. Although his house sold, no one knew if he were renting in town, building a new house, away on duty, etc. Obviously, no one can force someone to respond to messages or call back.

    Board of Education members are volunteers who dedicate significant time to school issues. Sometimes family life or work can interfere so I hold no judgement. While it is unfortunate that he didn’t resign a few months earlier, I truly appreciate the time he did put in and his willingness to serve.

    The point I’d like to make is it would seem that Melissa’s comment about the BOE being “irresponsible” is, on it’s face, irresponsible, and undermines the good will and trust that underpin good working relationships. This has been my number one issue with her since she took office.

  2. Don Hayden

    October 31, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Great article! Thank God there are some people left with common sense in this town.