Letter to the Editor and the Residents of Halifax
The Halifax Town Website calls Halifax “the Heart of Plymouth County” – in part due to its geographic shape and location within the county, but also for the friendliness of the community. Yet this “heart” has had a debilitating stroke, an erosion of sorts that has been taking place caused by the substitution of rage over rationality, and self-interest over public service. The exchange of ideas has seemingly become unwelcome or non-existent. Just as a stroke often inhibits speech, attempts to discuss or compromise matters raised by those considered to be the “opposition” are silenced, often dismissed before the question is asked or the statement made, and no effort is made to reconcile differences.
The incantation leading up to the last election was one of “if in vote out” and that “change” was the answer. However, when “change” leads to chaos, and even mistrust, it is not the answer, especially when used to disguise revenge for a perceived wrong.
The Board of Selectman has three members, the Chairman is Gordon C. Andrews, the Vice Chairman is long-time public servant for the town Troy E. Garron, and the newest member is Ashley DiSesa as Clerk, and a protégé it would seem of Mr. Andrews. A review of the YouTube videos (via Area 58) of the various meetings of the Board of Selectman that involve the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Building Inspectors Office reveal several instances of Chairman Andrews having to recuse himself from participating in the decision or discussion of town business due to a conflict of interest, leaving the vote on many motions to the remaining two members, which may be polar opposite in their views. Often the result is no decision. On other occasions the Chairman has suppressed any discussion from the audience. A review of the Annual Town Meeting for the last couple of years exposes the reason for Mr. Andrews’ recusals – his lawsuit against the town and the necessity for monies to be allocated to the law budget for the Towns’ defense. It is untenable that those elected to fulfill the duties of their positions of public service cannot do so because of their private interests and personal agendas or allegiances.
Traditionally, Selectman are scheduled to meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the evening. While COVID did alter in-person engagement, the public had some expectation to rely on somewhat “same time, same station” if their participation was desired or required. However, with the new “change”, Selectman meetings take place several times a month at varying days and times. Without some kind of discipline, it is basically impossible for the working public to keep up with and participate in so many meetings in real time.
The new “change” has created chaos as well as a tense and sometimes hostile environment in its quest to replace dedicated, knowledgeable and qualified personnel with less knowledgeable and unqualified and/or un-certified personnel. Most recently, and of deep concern is that Charlie Seelig, Town Administrator for more than 25 years, has decided to leave Halifax and serve another town. This is a tremendous loss for the residents of Halifax, and it is questionable that an honest search based on qualifications and not on “connections” will be made for his replacement. What is evident of the “change” is the subversion of the Town’s government and smothering of any esprit de corps.
Halifax is in the Intensive Care Unit and the medical staff are locked out of the room.