Tonight, members of Concerned Citizens were locked out of Butler Hall and told by a town employee that they could not enter until 15 minutes prior to the town board meeting because the town needed time to set-up. Town officials and employees were allowed inside, but members of Concerned Citizens were told to stay out in the chilly weather.
After we were allowed entrance to Butler Hall, Mr. Wiatr, Co-Founder of Concerned Citizens approached Supervisor Reed before the meeting began and Supervisor Reed made some accusations and threatened Mr. Wiatr that he was going to the District Attorney in the morning. Mr. Wiatr was also told that we were submitting too many Freedom of Information requests and the town will have to hire another person to handle them.
After the Town Board Meeting, Cathy Lawrence, Co-Founder of Concerned Citizens, questioned Supervisor Reed regarding the locking of the doors to keep us out and Supervisor Reed said...the girls were just nervous because they never had to unlock the doors before and it will never happen again. That explanation doesn't pass the litmus test because one of the "girls" was the Deputy Town Clerk who is present at every board meeting and is well-acquainted with Concerned Citizens.
Until tonight, the doors have been unlocked when we arrive or if the doors were locked, we have been allowed to enter as soon as someone with a key arrives; usually no later 5:30 p.m. The members of Concerned Citizens who were in attendance are well-known by town employees. Letting us in has never been an issue. In fact, there has always been casual talk between town officials, town employees and Concerned Citizens prior to the start of the town board meetings.
If we were locked out tonight by the order of Supervisor Reed, and we suspect we were, then Supervisor Reed owes Concerned Citizens an apology. If we were locked out because the Deputy Town Clerk did so on her own, then she should be reprimanded.
There is something drastically wrong with a town government that feels they have the authority to lock any citizen out of a town board meeting "until they say so".
Supervisor Reed, perhaps you would be better off spending your time working to resolve the Notice of Claim recently filed against the town by Concerned Citizens regarding the illegal payment of overtime to Ms. Fairbrother. Your demeanor tonight was rivalled only by your demeanor in previous town board meetings. Town residents and taxpayers deserve better!
Supervisor Reed, if it's getting too hot in the kitchen, then...