Final flare-up: Walsh, Tetreau clash over reports
Updated 3:09 pm, Thursday, November 3, 2011
With the municipal election less than a week away, political bickering erupted at the usually tranquil Board of Selectmen meeting Wednesday when Selectman James Walsh demanded reports on the impact of recent storms on the town, as well the Fairfield Metro train station and the status of the town's bid for the Penfield Reef Lighthouse.
It was the last meeting of the board before Tuesday's election, and two of the selectmen are on that ballot. Walsh is running on the Republican ticket for his seat on the board, while interim First Selectman Michael Tetreau is the Democrat's candidate for the town's top elected office.
Walsh made several motions to hear the reports on the various topics he asked for, but none of those motions was seconded by either Tetreau or Selectman Sherri Steeneck, a Democrat who is not on the ballot.
Walsh had sent Tetreau an email Tuesday asking for those reports to be added to Wednesday's meeting agenda. On Wednesday morning, Tetreau replied via email that an update on Saturday's snow storm would best be done at the Nov. 16 meeting; that a review of Tropical Storm Irene is being completed and will likely be presented at that same meeting, and that monthly updates on the train station are given to the Representative Town Meeting. They are also posted on the town's website.
If Walsh had any specific questions regarding the Fairfield Metro project, Tetreau said, he would add them to the Nov. 16 agenda. He also said the committee working on a bid for the Penfield Lighthouse has not filed an update on the status of its bid.
"We've had this discussion," Tetreau said. "It was addressed in the email."
"I guess the air of transparency has left the room," Walsh retorted. "I can make motions to add anything," he said -- and did -- but without a second, those motions went nowhere.
"You've had the explanation when this will come," Tetreau said, referring to the reports. "It has already been scheduled."
In his email response to Tetreau, Walsh had said he was not asking for final reports, but any interim reports and the opportunity for himself and the public to ask questions.
As for the Fairfield Metro report, Walsh wrote: "You do not have the power to dictate that I receive a report at the RTM level. I will be expecting this report today."
Walsh cited the town's charter as giving him the right to demand such reports.
As soon as the meeting was adjourned, Tetreau left the room without further discussion of Walsh's requests.