She said, he said

War of words con­tin­ues in Har­bour Grace

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DENISE PIKE

It looks like the gloves are off be­tween Har­bour Grace res­i­dent Pauline Yet­man and Mayor Don Coombs. Yet­man, who at­tended a March 29 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing, ac­cuses the mayor of tear­ing up a num­ber of let­ters writ­ten by con­cerned cit­i­zens in­clud­ing a fake let­ter with her e-mail nick­name on it.

“I saw more than one pa­per or let­ter in his hand,” she says. “Dur­ing that meet­ing he tore up let­ters from peo­ple who had con­cerns about the con­di­tion of the town. He just tore them up and then balled them up and threw them across the ta­ble. And he was very sar­cas­tic about the ones he did read by re­fer­ring to them as com­pli­men­tary let­ters of sup­port,” Yet­man con­tin­ued.

“ That was un­called for and it shows how lit­tle re­spect he has for the peo­ple of this town and their con­cerns. The mayor is there be­cause some­one voted him in, he is there to rep­re­sent the town and he should be there to an­swer the is­sues at hand.”

Vo­cal

Over the past few weeks Yet­man, who moved back to Har­bour Grace from Mis­sis­sauga, On­tario last July, has been very vo­cal about the garbage and dis­carded pieces of rusted metal and equip­ment around town. Her con­cerns led to the es­tab­lish­ment of

the so­cial net­work group “Speak Loud and Let Your Voice be Heard in Har­bour Grace.” Yet­man and sev­eral oth­ers are listed as the ad­min­is­tra­tors of the group.

On March 8 Yet­man re­quested to speak at a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing. Her re­quest was turned down by Mayor Coombs who said Yet­man had to first apol­o­gize for the re­marks and ac­cu­sa­tions made against coun­cil on the Face­book group. How­ever when Yet­man at­tempted to apol­o­gize Coombs threat­ened to call the po­lice and have her re­moved from coun­cil cham­bers.

Fake let­ter

Dur­ing last week’s meet­ing she claims she saw Coombs tear up let­ters from res­i­dents along with an­other un­signed let­ter/e-mail ad­dressed to coun­cil from some­one named “Posh”. Yet­man whose e-mail nick­name is “Posh” says the let­ter did not come from her. “It was a fake and the mayor just wanted to make me look bad,” she says.

“Some­one else made up that let­ter, I didn’t write it! I have no rea­son to send coun­cil a let­ter and not put my name to it. I have no prob­lem putting my name on any let­ter I sent to coun­cil, in fact I have sent them nu­mer­ous let­ters and I have al­ways signed my name. The mayor is just try­ing to dis­credit me.”

Yet­man says the mayor needs to give less at­ten­tion to tear­ing up let­ters and more to in­form­ing coun­cil­lors of what’s go­ing on.

“He should be more con­cerned about mak­ing sure that all coun­cil­lors re­ceive copies of any let­ters that are sent to coun­cil,” she says.

“I spoke with one coun­cil­lor and he said he hadn’t seen the let­ters from the res­i­dents, which the mayor tore up, and was go­ing to in­quire about them. I thought the coun­cil­lors were sup­posed to re­ceive copies of all the cor­re­spon­dence be­fore the meet­ings? Ap­par­ently it doesn’t al­ways hap­pen with this coun­cil.”

Au­dit needed

Yet­man says she was also told that the town doesn’t have the 2010-2011 bud­get com­pleted.

“ That’s not even done yet. I mean what kind of a coun­cil is this?” she said. “An au­dit of the town’s books is def­i­nitely needed here. The tax­pay­ers of our town de­serve to know what is go­ing on with the fi­nances and how their money is be­ing spent.”

Alias e-mail

Yet­man said the Face­book group is get­ting lots of sup­port and many peo­ple are post­ing com­ments about their own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with the mayor and the town coun­cil.

She claims a mem­ber of the town coun­cil has also joined the Face­book group.

“ This per­son is try­ing to dis­guise who they are by us­ing an alias e-mail name and then post­ing nasty and neg­a­tive com­ments about the group or chal­leng­ing some of the com­ments made by my­self and oth­ers,” she said.

Yet­man has taken her con­cerns on the con­di­tion of the town and how it is be­ing man­aged to the premier.

“I wrote him a let­ter about some of the things that are hap­pen­ing here...,” she says.

Down mem­bers

De­spite the over­whelm­ing sup­port Yet­man says she is think­ing about back­ing away from the is­sues in the town.

“It’s taken up a lot of time, it’s stress­ful and it’s my neck that’s on the line here,” she con­cluded.

Mean­while some of the com­ments posted on the Face­book group Speak Loud and Let Your Voice Be heard in Har­bour Grace have been spark­ing heated de­bates among the mem­bers. As of Wed­nes­day March 31, some of the 329 mem­bers were voic­ing con­cerns about what they felt were per­sonal at­tacks on mem­bers of coun­cil. Oth­ers felt the pur­pose of the group was be­ing lost. By Thurs­day April 1, the group had dropped to 85 mem­bers. Ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tion posted, some left vol­un­tar­ily, while the cre­ator of the group re­moved oth­ers be­cause she felt “things were get­ting out of con­trol.”

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