Board of Selectmen continue to fail Egremont

Saturday June 29, 2013

To The Editor of THE EAGLE:

Hardly a week goes by in Egremont when our Board of Selectmen, comprised of Chairman Bruce Turner, Charles Flynn and Mary Brazie, don’t make poor decisions regarding Egremont. For example: At the April 1 hearing to oust Finance Committee member Kevin Zurrin, Selectman Flynn ordered Police Officer Jeremy Pilone to remove Zurrin’s lawyer, Richard Allen, from the room when he tried to speak on behalf of Zurrin. Had it not been for Egremont’s lawyer’s quick verbal admonition to Flynn to cancel this untoward command, a real donnybrook might have ensued.

Another damaging action by Mr. Flynn occurred when he filed a 2011 complaint with the attorney general that the Finance Committee had violated the Open Meeting Law. The attorney general’s reply stated "We find that the Committee did NOT violate the Open Meeting Law." However, four highly qualified finance members resigned in disgust over Flynn’s action. I don’t remember Flynn apologizing over his deplorable action.

The Egremont Selectmen are responsible for the current police department’s debacle. Allowing police department members, spearheaded by Pilone, to verbally attack Chief Reena Bucknell’s record in February 2013 in an open Selectman’s meeting without her presence, was grossly unfair and an alleged violation of Egremont’s personnel policies. At the end of this meeting, the Selectmen immediately placed Chief Bucknell on administrative leave (with pay) and without a hearing notified her to turn in her weapon and her gold badge. They then appointed Officer Pilone in charge of the police department.

But a funny thing happened: In early June, Selectman Flynn publicly complimented Officer Pilone for his work, but in mid-June, the Board of Selectmen asked Officer Pilone to resign, which he did. I wonder if the Selectmen ordered Mr. Pilone to turn in his weapon and badge?

Another example of the Selectmen’s reluctance to do the right thing concerns the reason for postponing the scheduled hearing on June 16 for Chief Bucknell as reported by Selectman Brazie. Her email to me stated "Chief Bucknell’s attorney contacted Town Counsel Jerimia Pollard and asked for a continuance." However, the alleged reason for the continuance was that the town had failed to furnish all the pertinent documents that Chief Bucknell’s lawyer had requested in May in order to defend Bucknell’s reputation and rights.

In spite of the Egremont Selectmen’s hiring of many outside consultants for advice, and in some cases ignoring them, what our Board of Selectmen needs is a big dose of common sense, the ability to be courteous to citizens in their meetings, and to develop the ability to act wisely and fairly on behalf of all of our citizens.




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