SOUTHBURY — The Thursday, August 1, meeting of the Board of Selectmen opened at 7 p.m. precisely with a picture-perfect swearing-in ceremony conducted by First Selectman Jeffrey Manville.

The event celebrated the promotion of Police Officers Anthony Armeno to the rank of corporal and Robert Burke to the Heritage Village Community Resource Office. This happy moment was followed by Timothy Patrick Monahan presenting his Eagle Scout project.

The agenda continued with routine duties such as announcements, including acknowledgement of the CIRMA Members Distribution check amounting to $130,000. Two new 2020 Ford Utility Intercepters were purchased at the cost of $34,017.80 per vehicle.

The board approved a policy that animals are not allowed in the town’s municipal buildings (except for the Animal Control facility as one would hope). The resolution also stipulates that “therapy dogs, emotional support animals, comfort animals and other species of animals are not considered service animals under the ADA,” and therefore will not be welcome in future.

The Charter Revision Commission was to meet on August 5 for its final review of the charter before closing it, and the selectmen were way behind in agreement on their obligatory page-by-page of the charter documents review.

As flashed on the screen, the text could hardly be read below enormous red inked edits which slow a process already tuned to six-member comment. Finally, from the stalls it has to be admitted, it seemed to become assumed that somehow everything would be all right on the night, as it probably will.

After slow progress through the Jeremy Swamp Road extension issues on the agenda, the Strategic Plan Commission invitation to the Republican and Democratic Town Committees and the several candidates for first selectmen to attend that commission’s next meeting, arrived once again in Mr. Manville’s mail file and Chair John Monteleone evidently had extended the invitation also to the entire Board of Selectmen.

In the ensuing discussion, Selectman George Bertram said, while not yet exactly revealing where he stood on the issue himself, that he had heard that very qualified, world experienced people in town were against Strategic Plan commitment.

The first selectman reported having been advised of a similar opinion. 

Eventually, as  the night wore on, the entire board voted unanimously to decline the invitation. 

Voices called Mr. Monteleone after noon on Friday to ask if he would like to comment on the fate of his invitation. It turned out that after a busy daytime Thursday, he had opted to leave the meeting before the final words had been spoken, so that call was his first inkling.

To Jeffrey Manville, Jennifer Naylor and Richard Boritz, the candidates, Mr. Monteleone then wrote, “I understand that the Board of Selectmen at last night’s meeting concluded that the invitation for each of you to speak at the August 8 Strategic Plan Commission was deemed to be inappropriate and that it would be viewed as political.

“The Board of Selectmen is correct in pointing out that this is outside the parameters of any town commission. The board stated that debate on any issues by a candidate running for office in November would best be served by the normal election process.

“I agree with this position. If there is a perception that the SPC overstepped its bounds, I apologize for any confusion or concerns that may have been created by this invitation.”   

On June 18, he had written to Anne Armeno and Ron Pugliese, chairs respectively, of the Republican and Democratic Town Committees, “Since both of you were on the Strategic Planning Task Force, you know that the work of the Task Force was non-political. It was focused on what the residents of the town wanted for their future.

“The Strategic Plan Commission has been charged by the Board of Selectmen to assist them in implementing the plan.  

This is the most difficult part of any plan, making it happen.”

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