To the Editor:
Anyone who has been to one of its meetings knows that the Southwest Harbor Select Board is a dysfunctional group.
The meetings are filled with confusion, in part because some board members appear not to understand the complexity of the various issues they are discussing. Furthermore, some members – Chairman Chad Terry in particular – interrupt each other constantly.
During my last months of graduate school at College of the Atlantic, I filled in for an MDI reporter who covered Southwest Harbor, witnessing firsthand the tense and often uncomfortable exchanges among the members of the board. Terry routinely treated female board members differently than he did male members and displayed passive-aggressive behavior toward then Town Manager Justin Van Dogen.
As Lydia Goetze made clear in her Viewpoint article in this paper last February, Van Dogen was a competent town manager who brought fiscal responsibility and ethical business practices to town operations. With the recent withdrawal of Van Dogen’s newly hired replacement, it’s time to revisit Van Dogen’s firing.
The public has a right to information that will allow them to question the decisions of their elected officials. Town employees shouldn’t be fired because of the whims or undisclosed resentments of the “good ol’ boys” of the Southwest Harbor Select Board (Terry, George Jellison and Allen ‘Snap’ Willey, who often vote together). Terry said that the 3-2 vote to fire Van Dogen was based on a “lack of confidence.” That is extremely vague and highly questionable.
The citizens of Southwest Harbor deserve transparency – as well as a Select Board who treat each other with respect.