To the editor:
I congratulate our newly elected Chatham Town Supervisor Donal Collins and Town Board members Abi Mesick and Vance Pitkin. With their recent election to the Town Board, they have taken on the complex work of governing our town, with all of the responsibilities and opportunities that brings. Hopefully, they see part of their mandate as working to heal the divisions that erupted in our town during the recent election, by setting a tone of cooperation and collaboration with all of the citizens of Chatham.
At the first meeting of the 2020 Chatham Town Board, their proposed resolutions showed that our new Board members had started their tenure with a closed process for governing, even to the extent that Board members Kevin Weldon and John Wapner had not been included in decision making that was presented at the meeting. In this context, the good news was that the new administration reappointed some members of the Planning Board and the ZBA, with the result that they largely maintained a balance of opinions and expertise for this important work. On the other hand, their campaign promises for greater transparency and representation for all of Chatham citizens were not carried forth in their selection of consultants to Board and their proposed lists of committee members for the Citizens’ Finance Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Update Review Committee. They recommended that the Comprehensive Plan Update Review Committee consist exclusively of people who supported their campaign and who were vocal opponents of the proposed zoning code. This approach is very unlikely to bring a shared vision for how our town can grow and develop in the future.
I hope that the newly elected Board will correct their course and do what they promised to do for our community. Otherwise, promises of balance on the Board, transparency of process, and representation for ALL of the people of Chatham seem to have disappeared. For the future of Chatham, I ask that our newly elected officials reconsider how they will address such concerns, so that all of the citizens of our town know they are represented and heard.
President, Chatham Democrats