At each bi-weekly Select Board meeting, there is a required public comment session on non-agenda items. For the majority of citizens, this is one of the most fundamental aspects of town government. The average citizen receives three minutes to express politely his or her opinion, share ideas, bring up long-standing concerns, or question where we may be heading.

What I have observed repeatedly from the Chairman and those Select Board members seated immediately on either side of him, is not the welcoming, inviting experience one might expect. In fact, the welcome and open attitude is underwhelming at best. These Select Board members’ heads are turned downward, with minimal eye contact unless checking the wall clock for the allotted speaking time to be up. The sense of impatience and dismissal that emanates from these same three Select Board members is both palpable and deeply disturbing. The French Conference Room becomes a sad and unhealthy environment with all of the air and sense of prospect sucked out of it.

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