Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Message from Selectman Candidate Marilee Kenney Hunt

The following post is not to be construed as an endorsement or lack thereof of any candidate running for Selectman.

After listening to Bridgewater Board of Selectman (BOS) Chair, Mark Oliari, present his long anticipated plan for Bridgewater’s fiscal recovery on Tuesday March 18, I congratulate him on providing excellent theater. Following a carefully calculated script, he notified the public of his intention to roll out his plan several weeks ago and, knowing how desperately Bridgewater wishes a miraculous answer to its fiscal dilemma, guaranteed himself the largest possible audience. If nothing else, we should commend him for great timing and brilliant politics.

After a staged re-run of the $5,000 gifts to the Senior Center and High School library from the developers of the 40R project at Waterford Village, the BOS Chair announced that his personal family foundation was giving a $1,000 donation to the school's library. (By the way, was there any process to determine the recipients of the $10,000 donation from the Waterford Village developers? If the money was given to the town, I cannot recall a town meeting vote to determine the disposition. If it was a private gift from the developer to the B-R library and Sr. Center, why wasn’t it personally delivered?)

Is anyone else becoming a little jaded watching Mr. Oliari flaunt his money in the town’s face when others are, as he himself pointed out, feeling the effects of the recession? I do not envy his money, find fault with his choice in charities or contend that he does not have every right to do with his money as he chooses. I do, however, object to use of the Selectmen’s Chair position to spotlight private, personal, charitable acts.

As a finale to Tuesday’s meeting, with his audience gathered in anticipation and primed with the warm up performance of his magnanimity, Mr. Oliari revealed his long range plan to save Bridgewater—on the backs of town and school employees. His soothing and confident assurances that the plan will cause no lay-offs and “no give-backs” are hollow rhetoric .Simple mathematics disproves the fact that 1%, 1.5% and 2% increases for employees in 2010-2012 will “not require give-backs.” Health insurance costs alone exceed those percentages.

I find it hypocritical that a successful businessman would ask people of lesser means to bear Bridgewater’s fiscal burden. That is not leadership; that is unconscionable.

Marilee Kenney Hunt
Candidate for Selectman

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