Until recently, our local elections and government business –although not without contentions issues–have been conducted with civility, decorum, and mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is no longer be the case in the Town of Easton, where the actions of some candidates and their supporters have gone far over the line in the ongoing campaign for the presidency of the Easton Town Council.
The first instance was the statement of August 23, “You Should Be Angry Too by Al Silverstein,” which appeared in The Talbot Spy and accuses the Town government while Bob Willey was mayor (and Mr. Silverstein was a council member) of a list of financial abuses: misuse of tax dollars, special (financial) privileges for certain employees, violation of federal law with contract employment, and violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act—causing massive taxpayer losses. Mr. Willey of course referred the list to Sharon VanEmburgh, the town attorney, whose response makes clear that all matters described were entirely legitimate under existing laws and policies.
The other case is a large glossy flyer that came in the mail on September 1, which it says was “Paid for by Scott R. Wagner, although I understand he neither lives in nor is eligible to vote in the Town of Easton. The front of the piece asks, “After 30 years of a politician being in Easton town government… isn’t it time for a new voice?” The back says, “Politician Bob Willey has been in Easton government for OVER 30 YEARS. Willey was just ousted by voters as the Mayor of Easton this past spring … but now he’s running AGAIN for town council president! Easton doesn’t need any more career politicians. After 30 years, Easton NEEDS a new voice.”
On September 6, another scurrilous flyer from Mr. Wagner came in the mail, this one headlined that “Politicians are like diapers. At some point they all need to changed!” It includes an X-ed out photo of Mr. Willey and lists the now-discredited talking points from Al Silverstein’s statement of August 23.
Easton voters should consider these factors when they vote on September 12. The future harmony and effectiveness of Town government, and our continued success as a community, depend on the results. The candidate with an unimpeachable and selfless record of performance in office, and the highest possible ethical standards, is Bob Willey.