In the March 8th Edition of this paper, my colleague on the Board of Selectmen, Michael McCoy penned a critical opinion of our mutual colleague, Judy O’Connell over the manner in which she announced her intentions to not run for re-election for the Board of Selectmen. Now, let me be clear. Ms. O’Connell is MORE than capable of speaking for herself, and, in my opinion, did so professionally and non-confrontationally at our Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, March 13th. So, the comments I offer here are exclusively mine based on my observations.
Mr. McCoy goes through a litany of calendar dates in suggesting that Ms. O’Connell was somehow attempting to discourage would-be candidates from entering the race for Board of Selectman by delaying the announcing of her intentions to run or not.
He goes on further to suggest that he learned of her intentions late in the last week for candidates to pull and submit nomination papers after reading it in The Town Crier he received in mail on that Thursday. And, he argues that his standing in front of Market Basket as far back as November of 2016 holding his own sign, by himself for an election that would be taking place in April of 2017, somehow shows his pure intentions. Others might interpret that as lack of confidence, or, dare I say, pathetic.
Now, I am generally, a non-confrontational guy. I think Mr. McCoy would agree with me on that point. He and I have most certainly disagreed on points through the years. And, even on points where we have agreed principally, I have often found myself disagreeing with the manner in which he conducts and expresses himself. As I say to my kids often, sometimes it’s not so much what one says, but HOW one says it that can matter most. But, that said, I have never sought out or purposefully instigated any conflict among any of my colleagues. So, I offer these observations NOT to pick a fight. But, rather, to right a wrong that I believe Mr. McCoy has done.
Regarding Ms. O’Connell’s decision not to run and the timing of it, at no point was it too late for anyone else who would be possibly inclined to run the for the seat, to pull nomination papers. While I do not know this for certain, I can surmise that Ms. O’Connell, out of a commitment and love for our town of Wilmington, and in an effort to ensure that before declaring she would not be seeking re-election, would want to be sure that there would be someone in the race with whom she could have full confidence and put her full support into their candidacy. I commend her for that and appreciate her keeping Wilmington as her 1st priority, even as she departs The Board of Selectmen. Additionally, as she explained at this week’s Selectmen meeting, Ms. O’Connell DID, in fact communicate her intentions through local media as early as the end of February. I learned of her intention to not run for reelection on Monday, February 27th, several days before Mr. McCoy received his copy of The Town Crier. The reality is, that while I continue to hold the Town Crier in high regard and am a long-time subscriber, it IS a weekly paper. In 2017, I think we can all agree that the news travels at break-neck speed, and that technology is a primary source of information about what is happening in our world, globally, nationally, State AND Locally. It is implausible to think that any “political Newcomer” interested in running for Selectman, would be waiting for their Thursday edition of the Town Crier to come in the mail before making their decision. I, like I imagine most of Wilmington, learned of Ms. O’Connell’s announcement through Social Media and the local on-line news blog site. I would suggest to Mr. McCoy, that if the Internet is not an option for him, he might pick up his rotary phone and call someone who can help him get online.
Lastly, I find it reprehensible and quite revealing when Mr. McCoy suggests that Ms. O’Connell has somehow played a “dirty trick”. Anyone who has been watching local government for the past 8 or so years, will easily come to the conclusion that Ms. O’Connell has always had only the interests of Wilmington as her primary concern and priority. Her guidance as a member of the School Committee, Chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, Chair of the Yentile Park construction Committee, and in myriad other ways, are illustrations of her commitment to our town as a volunteer servant. While criticism of votes or policy of local Government Officials is certainly reasonable, baseless accusations of “trickery” of someone who has done so much for us, has no merit.
Selectman Michael Champoux
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