Focus on the facts — Roger Preis

I was very disappointed by the last Selectboard meeting given the cries from the community for greater civility on the board.  There are major issues being personalized and politicized which will forever change the face of Shelburne.

I was most concerned that unless the full board agrees otherwise, only one Board member should interact directly with Vermont Rail and the Town’s attorney during this pending court case.  In addition, the Board should decide how the Town Manager’s performance review should be conducted and not via a Front Porch Forum citizen feedback process. Potentially, there are large risks of wasting significant taxpayer dollars that are being spent on legal fees due to a poorly coordinated, very complex legal matter and court case.  In addition, there is the potential for large wasted costs for recruitment, retention and potential turnover of key staff.

Shelburne vs. Vermont Rail should not be reduced to issues of power and control, but rather about facts, laws, and the truth in the eyes of the court. I have attended days of Federal Court hearings and learned firsthand that the legal questions are extremely complicated. Given that the wheels of justice turn very slowly, it is alas very expensive to pursue a major legal matter.

Repetitive, outlandish, and obstructionist behavior by one member of the Board is very harmful to the governance of Shelburne. The Town’s website provides transparency to all the related documents including the Town Attorney’s Summary Conclusion relating to the Selectboard and the Settlement Agreement.  This settlement requires that only one Board member recuse himself from everything related to the Railway/Barrett Trucking litigation. If one individual impedes the Board’s collective role, then this significant consequence is appropriate and necessary.

I am concerned that many issues have been reduced to personal attacks toward specific individuals who are our community neighbors and elected public servants. The Selectboard has worked extremely hard in an incredibly charged environment and highly complex legal arena.  I do not believe the issues have to do with one leader and two followers casting majority votes. I believe that the Board who is comprised of our elected officials is doing their job to the best of their ability. We are not obliged to agree, but the absence of civility by community members or Board members is wrong.

Recently I have read some blatantly false information in the commentaries on Front Porch Forum and in the Shelburne News. The truth and facts are all on the Town’s website. Instead of launching personal attacks, I would hope that the residents of Shelburne would provide greater support for our community members, public servants and elected officials.

Roger Preis, Shelburne

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