As a town employee I have never taken a public stand about town elections but I am so concerned about the candidate slate for Wilmington Selectboard that I feel compelled to write this letter to the voters. It is my personal belief that “stacking the deck” with siblings running for the open two- and three-year positions on the selectboard is a very dangerous precedent. Yes, it is legal for Tom Manton and his sister, Susan Manton-Haughwout to run for these positions, but will it serve the best interests of our town?
For years it felt uncomfortable to me to walk into the Town Clerk’s office and witness partisan political opinions being loudly discussed during business hours even when clients were waiting for assistance. That the Town Clerk could even run for the selectboard for any term felt like an ethical dilemma for me at best and felt like a conflict of interest because once elected the Town Clerk is still the person in charge of candidates filing papers to run for any town position and is still the person that oversees all voting in the town. When voters did question the reason it is allowed it is because it has not been challenged in court. Well our democratic rights are being challenged further when siblings join in the mix to now potentially hold two of the five selectboard seats which adds a dimension of partisanship that quite honestly frightens me.
There is an engaging new energy that is evident in Wilmington since the flood, which was highlighted with Susan’s efforts to save and restore all our town’s vital records. My hope is to continue bringing that healthy energy forward. No one should feel afraid to express an opinion about our town with the fear they are stepping on someone’s toes. We need an open dialogue and open agendas.
Please join me by writing in the name of Tom Fitzgerald for the two-year position for selectboard (my former husband) and Tom Consolino for the three-year position for selectboard and don’t forget to color in the icon on the line in which you write the name in on the ballot to assure your vote counts! If you are unable to vote at Town Meeting it is not too late to request an absentee ballot be mailed or to be delivered to your home for you to vote and put democracy into action.