To the Editor:
When it’s time for action, Southbury’s first selectman does nothing. As someone with a first-row seat for six years, I’ve witnessed time and again the incumbent first selectman’s preference for inaction. When asked to make a decision, difficult and easy ones, Mr. Manville chooses procrastination.
In response to residents’ concerns about racism, bigotry and hate, earlier this year the first selectman and I reached an agreement, supported by a bipartisan majority of the Board of Selectmen, to establish a Community Relations Task Force.
The approval came April 1. It took until June 15 to issue a call for applications with a July 30 deadline. In August, after reviewing the submitted essays, I shared my recommendations with the first selectman. He suggested we conduct brief interviews with each candidate in September.
Six months since approval. No action.
Why? At the October 7 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, which I was unable to attend due to illness, I requested an update. The first selectman’s reasons amounted to this: I’m not running and he’s too busy running for reelection.
I’d suggest two alternatives: 1) the mission to “promote acceptance of all members of the Southbury community and focus on advancing understanding of the diverse and multicultural makeup of its citizens” was never a priority for the first selectman; and 2) for the extreme faction of Southbury Republicans who opposed him in the primary, but whom he believes he still needs to win in November, the Task Force isn’t a good campaign talking point.
Southbury deserves a decisive, forward-thinking leader. After six years of running in place, it’s time for change. Get to know the experienced, diverse and prepared team of John Diehl for first selectman and Justin Bette, Audrie DeRouen and Kim McNeill for Board of Selectmen. Vote for change in November.
Selectman Mike Rosen