Having just watched a replay of June 12 BOS meeting agenda item on the Lavender liquor violation (available on demand at SudburyTV.org), I was struck by the perceived disingenuousness of Board of Selectman member John Drobinski.
In words, Mr. Drobinski said he wanted to extend an olive branch and heal the Town’s divisiveness. But, in deeds, he would not provide a second for motions to schedule another meeting for further investigation of the Lavender incident; to reorganize the BOS chair; or to remove Larry O’Brien from the Liquor Licensing Authority, despite O’Brien’s admitted violations involving such.
Mr. Drobinski’s constant refrain was, “Where do you want to go with this?” I wish someone had answered: Wherever the facts take us.
Does Mr. Drobinski not realize that no one can precisely predict in advance where an investigation will lead when key facts remain hidden? Sudbury needed an open hearing with the principals involved present. Instead, the O’Brien & Valente devised agenda supplied a fixed, predetermined outcome with few answers and minimum transparency and disclosure. All this served to increase divisiveness, the very thing Mr. Drobinski said he wanted to avoid.
Also, there was controversy as to whether Mr. Drobinski ought to have recused himself from deliberations. Drobinski argued that he wasn’t at Lavenders at the time of the violation.
But this dodge misses the bigger point. That is, Drobinski is a direct link in the chain of events. The police timeline:
- 1:18:42 a.m. — dispatch completed taking initial missing person information via phone (from Mrs. Drobinski)
- 1:23:41 a.m. — officer off at missing person residence (Drobinski’s)
- 1:26:01 a.m. — party (John Drobinski) returns home
- 1:46:55 a.m. — supervisor arrives at Lavender with patrons remaining inside (including BOS Chair Larry O'Brien).
How can Mr. Drobinski credibly claim that he does not have a potential conflict of interest given the indisputable facts that he was at Lavenders “prior to the violation”. And that the police went from his house to Lavenders to break up an ongoing Liquor violation?
There is no need to speculate on the more nefarious aspects of a suspect missing persons report diverting resources from the OUI; or whether O’Brien and all at Lavenders disregarded the police’s advance warning around 1.20 a.m. when an officer came looking for the “missing” Drobinski; or even whether the police were influenced by the knowledge of Obrien, Drobinski, and Valente’s presence at Lavenders. (The police said none of above had any affect.)
All in all, I was disappointed at most nearly every aspect of the meeting – from Mr. O’Brien’s expectation of impunity based on a prepared statement that answered no questions, to the town manager and Mr. Drobinski’s refusal to take responsibility and acknowledge the gravity of their conduct as Town leaders.
The lone bright spots were Selectman Haarde’s efforts to shine light on the matter so as to attempt resolution and ultimately allow the Town to move on, as well as the dedicated citizens who stayed past midnight asking pointed questions, refusing to let O’Brien, Drobinski and Valente sweep it all under the rug.