Where is that pride?

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - OPINION - Cyril F. But­ler Marys­town, NL

I would like to bring an in­ci­dent to light that seems to be part of an on­go­ing and alarm­ing set of events that has been plagu­ing our town for four years.

I am aware with this let­ter that I may open my­self to what seems to be a trend by mem­bers and staff our cur­rent coun­cil to seek le­gal ac­tion against me. How­ever, I have not fought in WW2 against the Nazi regime to be si­lenced by a few peo­ple of lesser power. I will ex­er­cise my right to voice an opin­ion. On Sept 5 of this year my fam­ily par­tic­i­pated and wit­nessed a proud mo­ment to us as my daugh­ter put forth her name as a can­di­date to run for town coun­cil of Marys­town.

I was also there to wit­ness many of her peers who were be­ing civic minded as well. They are the sons and daugh­ters of fine cit­i­zens of this town, most who have since passed on. They would have been just as proud as I was to watch them vie for a role to lead our town.

When we ar­rived at the sign­ing, there was a crowd gath­er­ing in the hall­way.

When we were ready to see the mayor sign his pa­pers to run for another term, I was struck by why this event was hap­pen­ing in such a small room.

Peo­ple were crowd­ing in, some were left out­side in the hall­way and to say it was swel­ter­ing in that room was not an ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

The town clerk was run­ning the nom­i­na­tions and, on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, was asked to open the di­vider wall that sep­a­rated this small room from the main coun­cil cham­bers to get more air cir­cu­lat­ing.

Each time he re­fused and gave no rea­son why he couldn’t or wouldn’t. Others asked for air con­di­tion­ing to be switched on. Again the re­ply was no; it was on an auto shut off at 5 p.m. ev­ery day and he couldn’t over­ride it.

I my­self was over­come with the heat and peo­ple had to bring me wa­ter. My wife, who is not well, was ex­tremely un­com­fort­able as were sev­eral other se­niors present who were forced to sit down be­fore they lit­er­ally passed out.

These con­di­tions didn’t need to ex­ist in my opin­ion.

Sim­ple cour­tesy was all that was re­quired by the town clerk to make this a great ex­pe­ri­ence for all in­volved. Surely, the coun­cil cham­ber should have been the nat­u­ral lo­ca­tion any­way, as it was able to fit a great many peo­ple if it was needed.

When we were leav­ing the room, roughly 35 peo­ple of our group moved into the coun­cil cham­ber and another large group pro­ceeded into the smaller room.

Within five min­utes of our en­trance into the coun­cil cham­bers, the town clerk en­tered and asked us to leave be­cause he wanted to open the di­vid­ing doors for the other sup­port­ers of the other can­di­date and needed us to va­cate the room.

There was an im­me­di­ate ver­bal re­ac­tion to this re­quest and he was told in no un­cer­tain terms that there would be a prob­lem if he did for these peo­ple what he had re­fused to do for us.

The town clerks words were swift; he whipped out his phone and said, ‘If you don’t leave, I’m call­ing the RCMP.’

I was dumb­founded. I was in a build­ing that my tax dol­lars went to pay for and I was be­ing told to leave so a cour­tesy that was bla­tantly de­nied to all other groups be­fore them could be ex­tended to one.

One might ar­gue there was no need for a ver­bal con­fronta­tion. But some­times a loud and con­fi­dent voice is what’s needed to get a point across.

The town clerk then left the room and again came back and went to the door near­est the stairs and asked us again to leave, for what I be­lieve to be no other rea­son that to ac­com­mo­date the com­fort of the other can­di­date and their sup­port­ers. To me, these ac­tions showed fa­voritism and not those of an un­bi­ased mem­ber of staff.

This man, this paid em­ployee of the town in my opin­ion had no more re­spect for me, for my fam­ily or the peo­ple around us. He was will­ing to have the RCMP come to a public build­ing and have my­self and my wife es­corted off the prop­erty or ar­rested?

How sir, I ask, of you, how you think that in any way you por­trait a pos­i­tive im­age of this town when you treat peo­ple in that man­ner? How do you speak for the thou­sands of peo­ple who live here?

I once held the po­si­tion you are cur­rently in, sir. And I will tell you with­out blink­ing an eye, that I held that po­si­tion as a po­si­tion of hon­our.

You are a public ser­vant. You are not in a po­si­tion of power. The power comes from the peo­ple. You are sup­posed to take pride in work­ing for your com­mu­nity. Where is that pride, sir?

My cur­rent con­cern, as should be ev­ery­one of this town, is that the town clerk is also the Chief Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer for this elec­tion.

My ques­tion is: How can a per­son who treats the public so poorly, who shows, in my opin­ion, an al­le­giance to a spe­cific set of can­di­dates and is also a per­son who has sued the Mayor of Marys­town for ha­rass­ment be an un­bi­ased rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the 2017 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion?

I am call­ing for the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion and to take a se­ri­ous look at what has been hap­pen­ing in this town.

Thank you for this op­por­tu­nity to ex­press my opin­ion.

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