Members chosen for transfer station group — but not without controversy
SALISBURY — The members of the transfer station building committee for the new Salisbury-Sharon transfer station were announced at the Thursday, March 17, meeting of the Salisbury-Sharon Resource Recovery Authority (SSRRA).From Salisbury: Charlie Kelley, John Allee, Peggy O’Brien, Rod Lankler and Charlie Oulette (alternate).From Sharon: Bill Braislin, Selectman Meg Szalewicz, Jim Vaughan, John Perotti and Tom Bartram (alternate).Transfer Station Manager Brian Bartram (a Salisbury resident) is an ex officio member.Ed Reagan was in charge of interviewing potential building committee members from Salisbury; Tom Bartram handled those from Sharon. The selection of the committee members was not without controversy. Mike Flint of Lakeville was not selected for the building committee. In an e-mail to Salisbury First Selectman Curtis Rand (who is the chairman of the SSRRA; Sharon First Selectman Bob Loucks is vice chairman) Flint criticized the selection process and questioned whether his rejection was politically motivated.Flint said in his letter that although he submitted his letter of interest by e-mail Feb. 14 and followed up in person, he heard nothing until the afternoon of March 17, when Reagan left a message on his home answering machine at 3:03 p.m. (The SSRRA meeting to appoint the committee began at 5:30 p.m. that day.)Flint wrote to Rand: “Do you think it is appropriate to make selections without affording all of the applicants the same interview process? It seems that Mr. Reagan had more than ample time to make those contacts and interviews.“Do you think it is acceptable to contact someone for an interview slightly more than two hours before the actual meeting when you had a month to make that contact?“Do you consider your selection process to be fair considering that not everyone was allowed the same level of courtesy?“Hopefully you can explain to me why I should not feel that this process has been anything but lacking in transparency and that it was politically manipulated.”In an e-mail reply to Flint on Monday, March 21, Rand wrote:“Please note that I did not intervene in discussions about the Building Committee candidates during the process. In fact, my only input was to say an unfortunate ‘no’ to one candidate who early on expressed keen interest in serving — my wife, Susan, who could not even put her name forward due to the obvious political ramifications.“To be honest, there was a concern raised at the meeting that it would be awkward to include a member of the active, local press on a committee where there will inevitably be strategic negotiations with designers and builders who will be competing for various possible contract awards.”Reagan said in an email March 22, “I did not even think of excluding Mike Flint from the process. I have had some health problems and [been] involved in a startup business.”Bob Palmer, who is on both the Transfer Station Recycling Advisory Committee and the SSRRA, said he forwarded Flint’s letter of interest to Reagan in February. (Rand said in a phone interview that he sent Flint’s letter on to Reagan the day he received it, March 14.) Palmer added that he saw no evidence of anyone being excluded from the selection process for any reason.Flint is the manager at public access CATV6 and hosts a commentary program, “Straight Talk,” on Sunday mornings. Flint served without incident on the search committee for the new assistant principal at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, and during an unsuccessful run against Rand for first selectman in 2009 temporarily shut down “Straight Talk.”Region One School District Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain, who worked with Flint on the assistant principal search committee for Housatonic Valley Regional High School (and who is also a member of the two-town Transfer Station Recycling Advisory Committee), said there was no problem with Flint keeping that committee’s deliberations confidential. “Not a peep,” she said.