Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Execrable Clemencey

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Last night’s (August 2) meeting of the subcommittee on Education and Human Services began on an interesting (some would say, intimidating) note.

A member of the Southbridge Police Department was present in plain clothes but prominently displaying his badge.
When a question was raised as to who had requested such a presence, Chairman Denise Clemence proclaimed ignorance. The officer volunteered that he was there at the behest of his boss to preserve order.

Now, I question whether the Chief of Police has the authority to undertake such an action in regard to an open public meeting without the request of the presiding officer or a majority of the body.

That having been said, the meeting then proceeded to the posted agenda. The course of proceedings was peppered with a series of procedural gaffes by the chairman, including an effort to limit debate. These were repeatedly, and ably, pointed out by councilor McDonald. All of this was being recorded by citizen James Sottile.

On the matter of nominations to the Board of Health, the committee voted to approve the nomination of Robert Checkosky. On the nomination of Dean Cook, the town mangler made clear his intention to stand by the opinion of the town attorney and expand the Board, once again, to five members. In that regard, he introduced a letter that read:

In response, councilor McDonald introduced the following letter for the record:

Councilor Marcucci made clear her discomfort with such an action. She moved to postpone action on this item and it was seconded by councilor McDonald and so voted.

The subcommittee then moved on to an agenda item labeled as discussion of the membership of the Board of Health. The town mangler attempted to introduce discussion of the previously reported investigation of Board member Ann Beinema.

Councilor McDonald objected noting that not only was this a violation of the Open Meeting Law (an opinion echoed by local reporter Gus Steeves) but that the matter should only be discussed in Executive Session.

Further discussion of the matter was halted.

During the proceedings it was noted that the town mangler repeatedly cupped his hands over his mouth while speaking in an apparent attempt to muffle the chance of his remarks being clearly recorded.


  1. I'm glad that the action was postponed. Something is going to happen if subcommittee memebers and others are not careful about what is discussed openly because of the open meeting laws. Southbridge does not need to have another black eye because of this as well as legal fees incurred.

  2. There it is in black and white in The Town Manager's own words: "...a balance of technical, analytical, and POLITICAL LEADERSHIP skills." He's selecting people to protect our health who must be political (i.e. agree with his politics) to be considered. This is an unconscionable attack on our health and well-being and reaffirms my position that he is now a severe threat to not only our democracy in Southbridge, but our health and safety as well.

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  4. The hypocrisy that is going on here is palpable.

    Dean Cook (whose nomination to the BOH was postponed last night) appeared in a publicly televised (and recorded) hearing of the Charter Review Committee.

    At that time he (inaccurately) stated his belief that state law required that at least one member of the BOH be a doctor.

    The fact is that state law only requires that of cities.

    As a result of special legislation Southbridge is treated as a town, ergo we are not required to have a doctor on the BOH.

    Nevertheless, we have a local doctor, with longstanding service and widely respected (i.e. Dr. Kenny Hasija) who has applied for this position.

    But, in his place we get the nomination of two, in my opinion, political hacks who are clearly wedded to the goals of our landfill operator.

    If this is not a clear case of political maneuvering in service to financial interests, what is?

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  6. (I removed my previous comment because upon reading it I realized someone might be able todo some creative Googling & piece together the identity of my friend the environmental attorney. I genuinely like the guy and don't want to get any more Southbridge smeared onto him than absolutely necessary.)

  7. A little while ago I heard that you people are spreading rumors that the town council is having a meeting in Sturbridge this weekend-how low will you go with your wild stories?

    Who comes up with these crazy conspiracy theories? I have a very good idea, the same clown that said over a million pounds of recyclables were buried at the landfill that could fill the town council chambers. He will suffocate in his BS. As if the town would fine people $30 for throwing away recyclables, but do nothing about over a million pounds of recyclables being buried at the landfill? ROFLMAO

  8. Hey, Madame Bug! I'd love to talk to whoever it is you're talking to. I've been hearing all kinds of wild rumors too, but yours take the cake.

  9. I heard that if someone tries to video the meeting, the owner of the building, Southbridge Savings Bank, will not allow their use. Is this true, and if so, is it legal for the Town Council to have a meeting in a place where the owner does not allow photography ?

    Between former State Rep O'Brien and the half dozen or more citizens here that appear to know what is going on even more than Mr. Clark when it comes to law and ethics, I was hoping someone would know. I want to talk to them about making sure the processed urine doesn't get in our water-I am a strict vegan, and they are trampling on my right to not consume animal products.

  10. (p.s.) BTW, Amelia, you rock! Thank you for bringing this animal urine issue to our attention.

    Why would anyone want to drink animal urine?

  11. Hey, Peski Bug ---
    Check this out ---

    Southbridge Savings Bank, 200 Charlton Road, Sturbridge, MA
    Saturday, August 6, 2011; 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon

    1. Pledge of Allegiance.

    2. Roll Call.

    3. Goals and Objectives of the Town Council.

    4. Adjournment.

    The bank kindly requests that attendees park in the back of the building due to the bank being open for business.

  12. Oh, BTW, ROFLMAO

  13. Today, I'm closing my account with Southbridge Savings. It's bad enough they're playing host to this rogue meeting. But correct me if I'm wrong:

    Isnt Bob Checkosky's son Mike the Branch Manager? If that's correct, isn't that a confict of interest? When will the Chief and Clark open that investigation?

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  15. I am told from a guy I actually trust (not from Southbridge, LOL!) that the bank *will* be allowing video recording.

    Glad that's squared away. Now, who's bringing coffee and doughnuts? (Please remember to keep all gifts under $50 in value. I can only eat so many doughnuts.)

  16. I disagree with a lot of post on this site because its all about being against goverment instead of working together as a team. ken has some very good ideas but his problems is that he relies on others to do his work. name calling as he does just shows the disrepect that he has towards some elected officals and appointed officals. This approach does not work. Things are not great in Southbridge as in other parts of the world, but to make things better one has to work together not always against one another. I will admit that I tend to do this myself but have decided no more name calling. Now on a differant subject I support the present council and know that errors will be made and actions that they will do will not be agreed on by all, when that happens we should contact our council members to voice the concerns thaqt one have. I will do this with the meeting that is planned in Sturbridge, the council belongs in this community with its meetings not in Sturbridge, we have plenty of locations for any kind of meeting, senior center, library, even in the police department community room. Call your councilors voice your diapproval be civil and just maybe we could prevail. Its time to work together on issues and not on who we are.

  17. Ken did'nt like my post

  18. peskey:
    Iswear it was the spam filter, not me.
    The post has been restored.

  19. I've been out of town for a while, but why the hell isn't this in the town hall? Or, one of the MANY (polish/francoamer/italian/amervet/vfw/eagles/elks/KoC/notredame/etc) halls available in town?
    A privately held business. Involved financially, and for all intents and purposes, invisibly, with other business interests. At an out of town location, no less? Amazing!
    Only in Southbridge.

  20. You mean, Only in STURBRIDGE!

  21. Ken I believe you on the spam issue one thing I know is you are a man of your word.even if we disagree on an issue. I commend you on your stand dealing with the water issue and to allow an approach for both sides to have a say. People need to do the research that will best serve them in thier comfort zone. There are many articles on this issue both for a against. People should also research what other chemicals are in thier water they may be surprised. Have a good one

  22. Peskey, this is exactly the point. We need honest pros and cons and a chance to compare plans. This affects our families and their health. The BOH wanted time to review and make a decision.

    I spoke with someone who works for Whitewater this evening and the equipment for using the chloramines has already been installed. I think if Chris Clark did this he is finished because every family in our neighborhood is talking about this and calling state and federal agencies about it and we've found some who will help. If he did this without approval from the Board of Health, I think he committed a crime.

  23. Quid is right, Mike Checkosky is a Vice President at the Southbridge Savings Bank Branch in Sturbridge.


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