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With No Finance Committee Discussion Scheduled by BOS, Former Member Says 'I Will Not Move On'

Former Finance Committee member Bob Stein was disappointed there was no discussion on Tuesday night's Board of Selectmen agenda regarding the controversy.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
The Board of Selectmen heard concerns at a meeting last month about the Finance Committee shake up that took place following this year's Annual Town Meeting.

Residents expressed worries that the changes were made because the replaced members shared a dissenting opinions, and they asked the Board of Selectmen to add an agenda item to Tuesday night's meeting to have a discussion on the Finance Committee situation.

That discussion point was not a part of the agenda when it was created by newly selected chairman Chuck Woodard. Bob Stein, one of the Finance Committee members who was replaced, finds this to be a concerning development.

Stein wrote a statement to read during the public comments section of Tuesday's meeting, during which he says he will not simply let his concerns fade away. What are your thoughts on the topic? Let us know in the comments section.

Below is former Finance Committee member Bob Stein's prepared address to the Board of Selectmen in its entirety.

I appear tonight again with several topics to bring to your attention. 

In the last Board of Selectmen meeting, 3 citizens requested your involvement to have public hearings on the actions behind the recent terminations of FINCOM members.  As dissenting voices and one of the recently terminated members, we voiced concern against actions of the town manager in increasing the DPW capital spending to nearly twice what the DPW Director requested and we were removed.  Myself and another resident were removed from FINCOM because of our dissenting voices and fiscal conservative opinions.  This does not and should not disqualify us from serving in our roles. 

Despite 3 different requests BOS involvement to review the recent FINCOM member terminations, I am very disappointed to learn late last week from Mr. Woodard that all 3 requests were denied and as Chairman, he will not be including them as an agenda item. 

Perfectly Legal
.  Recently you, Mr. Woodard informed me that Town Moderators actions were perfectly legal.  Mr. Woodard, you are a retired banking executive and I’m certain there were times in your career that you witnessed things that were perfectly legal but you knew they were ethically and morally wrong.  

Overstepping her boundaries
.  Town Manager Valente overstepped her boundaries and sent an email on March 19, within 24 hours after her warrant articles were denied FINCOM support and informed us our votes were invalid based on her loose interpretation of Open Meeting Law.  Her intent was clear, the Town Warrant would not reflect the opinion of FINCOM. 

Open Meeting Law, and violations thereof, are the responsibility of Town Clerk.  Anyone with any public service could easily see her opinion was flawed, yet that opinion had apparently been confirmed by Town Counsel.   

Town Counsel that has despite all his years of service has sadly, with your support, become a sad situation in this community.  Yet, you, the selectman just reappointed this man to another 3 year term despite more than 30 years in his role.  His appointment was suggested by Town Moderator Myron Fox, who, dare I say has lost a lot of my respect following his involvement in the FINCOM terminations. Do you honestly believe it when Myron Fox suggested his reappointment that he was the best candidate to serve the residents of Sudbury? Mr. Fox believes he is the best the Commonwealth has to offer? 

When challenged about his decision and my demand to show proof of his decision on the March 17FINCOM vote, Town Counsel respectfully admitted his mistake and rescinded his decision. Had I not contacted the Attorney General and confirmed the interpretation which led to my challenge of Town Manager’s intent to void our votes, the town warrant would have reflected his inaccurate legal opinion. 

Keep Politics out of FINCOM
:  FINCOM is expected to be apolitical.  Until the two unexpected terminations of myself and another fellow conservative, there were two applicants and two positions. Then after the deadline, two more applicants sent their applications in 10 days after the deadline, one on the eve of Town Meeting.  

Select applicants were allowed to submit applications late.  Unfortunately, this secret process excluded the general population the same extension. I personally knew two people who were going to apply yet when they called the town manager’s office, they were informed the deadline had passed.  Despite a historically public process, applicants were also not distributed to FINCOM members.  Someone from within knew something was about to happen within the membership appointments. 

Silence is Consent and a Tainted FINCOM:
  Your inaction and silence is consent about what happened in the FINCOM terminations. These actions that your silence is endorsing have tainted Sudbury’s Finance Committee. I call on all four newly appointed FINCOM members to resign immediately. Upon their resignation, the application process should start over with public requests for applicants, public interviews, public voting, and probationary appointments.  

For a committee that touts so much process and deliberation, you seem to be overlooking that standard on this one and I gotta ask. 

Why is it that the BOS doesn’t want a hearing on this topic?  

Why is it that the BOS doesn’t care that the process wasn’t followed but concerns itself in ConCom decisions? 

Why is it that the BOS doesn’t want to opine on the actions of the Town Manager, Counsel, or Moderator in this action? 

Did any of your lobby applicants to apply or Town Moderator to appoint any of these members? 

This town has seen enough scandals in recent years, this can still be corrected.  Mr. Woodard, I supported you in your bid for BOS with a belief that you were different. That you would stand against the establishment when necessary for the betterment of the town. Your failure to act on this situation and publically review what happened and the actions taken on myself and another FINCOM member have me disillusioned about how I could have been so wrong in my support of your BOS bid. 

And you say, let’s move on. I will not move on. This is not about me. This is about the rights of this town’s residents and the integrity of FINCOM. This nonsense of manipulating votes and decisions has to stop. Let's stop being cowards about confrontation and find out what happened. I will be here every week until we have a little sunshine in this town.  

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
JON999 June 11, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Conceding that the BoS does not have oversight of the Moderator position and also conceding that it was most likely legal for Mr. Fox to remove all conservative voices from FinCom (but also recognizing they weren't removed b/c those voices were not new/fresh enough as Mr. Fox claims), it is still important for the Selectmen to discuss and sort out this political decision. The BoS discusses and opines on SPS, LS, the Water District, the ConCom, the ZBA, and every other "independent" board in town so why not the Moderator/FinCom?
Sudburytoo June 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Chuck Woodard, Larry O'Brien, Len Simon and Myron Fox have all done serious damage to the town of Sudbury. What a shame. Chuck Woodard and Len Simon are just like the Mobrinski clan.
JON999 June 11, 2014 at 11:03 AM
And what's important to discuss is that Mr. Fox has turned the Moderator position on its head. As Mr. Fox himself has stated, the Moderator's job is to be independent, to refrain from taking positions (he can't even vote at TM) and to allow all sides of an article to be heard at TM. Secondarily, but in that same theme, the Moderator appoints a balanced (historically) FinCom to be a watchdog over the cost centers and assist those at TM to understand the financial matters from all sides. Now, today and likely going forward forever, the Moderator position is quite different. It exists primarily to appoint FinCom members, most likely aligned with his/her political views (otherwise you will be removed), and to serve as its de facto Chair. Moderating TM is only a secondary act in relation to the assurance that the budget presented to voters, the most important article at TM, is satisfactory to him/her. The Moderator is now the Town's de facto budget director and one person FinCom recommender. that's a big change. I can't wait to see who the insiders will recruit to run for that juicy job in March. In response to all of this, I believe the BoS should appoint a separate budget review committee reporting to the BoS.
Sudburytoo June 11, 2014 at 11:21 AM
For those who may have forgotten. Chuck Woodard while chair of the Fincom gave guidance to the cost centers during the great recession of 2008 and 2009 automatically requiring overrides. He loves to spend the taxpayer money with no desire to curtail spending. Chuck is up for reelection next year. He must be shown the door.
Dave Dell June 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM
On tape, Woodard told Haarde that he didn't have any discussions with Fox about FinCom appointments, then later said he did. He covered up, then backpedaled. It is all on tape. There is clearly a coverup going on to eliminate the fiscal conservatives and install drunken sailor spenders on the FinCom whom the insiders can control. The insiders also control the town counsel. They continue to appoint a guy (so incoherent at town meeting) because he is controlled by insiders and will do whatever they say. The insiders are afraid to appoint anyone else because then they cannot control someone who provides an independent legal opinion. Instead, whenever an issue comes up, this town counsel simply sides for the insiders. His legal opinions mean nothing. Sudbury deserves better than this. The insiders are doing the same thing with the FinCom, replacing independent and competent fiscal watchdogs like Stein and Dufault with puppets. What a disgrace - these are the elected reps of Sudbury on pathetic display. This must be overturned and light shed on these abuses of the process.

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