HomeOpinionLetter to the Editor: Read the Room, Select Board!

Letter to the Editor: Read the Room, Select Board!

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Sunnyside Gardens

I was unable to attend Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, however, tonight I was able to watch those who stepped up to speak.  The heart and soul of everyone’s comments were definitely in support of Sgt. Timothy Brennan.  There was a strong undercurrent that was voiced by many, directed pointedly at the BOS: “Are you even listening to us?”  Or “what do we have to do to get your (BOS) attention?”  Or “why can’t you read the room?”  It’s not a hard question, but you members of the Board sit at the front of the room, and as I’ve mentioned before, act like you’d rather be somewhere else.  Are your minds made up, and are you resigned to the fact that you are compelled to pretend to be listening, and humoring the very people who elected you to that position?  At the end of the Loudermill hearing, other than a slow start by Muriel in attempting to stimulate an alternative option to termination, the rest of you resembled an Olympic relay team, passing the baton to the next one down the line, recommending termination, with no discussion or debate on any of the details of what you learned that evening.  You must have learned something that night because it was blatantly apparent that you didn’t spend much time doing your research on the info you had been provided previously.

Except Amy Ritterbusch, of course.  She had her entire response already prepared, and then tried to deny it when called out by astute observers in the audience. Lies, deception, deceit, and arrogance.

I’m about as far from a “Legal Eagle” as anyone, but I wonder why Amy felt compelled to release the victim’s information?  Was it part of her Master Plan or an error? Did she want everyone to know that she helped “out” that victim?  Is she the Public Information Officer or appointed Media Relations person for the BOS, their spokesperson?  Was she speaking on behalf of the BOS, or did she take the privileged information that she was given in her official capacity on the BOS and release it personally?  Either way, she is still a suspect in an outrageous crime and should be held to account.  Sgt. Brennan committed no such crime and has been suspended for more than 8 months now.  Do members of the BOS get a pass in breaking the law if they are acting in their official capacity?  I think not, but again, I’m no Legal Eagle.  Does the BOS have any rules, or policies and procedures that govern what they do, and who polices misconduct that falls outside the lines of said rules or procedures?  I recall some years back when former Town Manager Anthony Troiano was involved in an OUI accident that was clearly his fault, and he was immediately suspended. Where are the defenders of Amy’s violation and conduct?  I would argue that there are sufficient grounds to hold a No Confidence vote for Amy, as her actions in this matter are lacking in character. Because her actions have potential criminal consequences, I don’t believe that she should be involved in any Town governing whatsoever until she answers for her egregious conduct.  Does the BOS have the authority to police their own, and if not, who does?  If they don’t police their own for a legitimate crime, then why do they think that they can police a three-decade veteran law enforcement professional for a vague policy violation?

I would love to hear the BOS come clean and explain what was so devastating about Sgt. Brennan’s actions that left them with no other alternative but to terminate him.  The BOS actually played right into his hand by “outing” the victim and proving that they couldn’t hold anyone’s confidence.  Sgt. Brennan did the right thing by this victim and got no benefit for his actions, which he could never have expected in the first place. There was no malice in his actions.

I call on the BOS to show some maturity, to remember where they came from and who put them in their current position.  This one-in-a-million situation truly couldn’t have been predicted by anyone, and it should be seen as an opportunity for the Town to review all of its procedures to prevent a similar situation from ever occurring again. 

Many times there are people with opposite opinions about different issues that can go back and forth and divide a community, but this particular case has probably united the Town more than any issue in anyone’s recollection.  As far as I can see, the residents of Hopkinton are on one side and the Board of Selectmen are on the other.  All I can say is “get onboard with the overwhelming majority of citizens in this Town, or get the hell out of our way“.  We may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.    

I have been overwhelmed by the support, time, and effort put into this by so many talented folks, and I appreciate every shred of knowledge and experience that you all have shared in support of Sgt. Timothy Brennan.  Let’s keep the full court press on until the Selectmen open their ears and listen to what everyone in Town is saying.

Respectfully Submitted,

Don Collins, Hopkinton

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  1. “The Legions of Issues that the Police Department, and the Town are Facing, were all Predicted Years ago
    when the Town removed the Police Department from the MA Civil Service System. IMO.”

    A lot of Municipality’s are now re-thinking their decisions on leaving Civil Service.

  2. Amy reposted something that the police chief posted. Should she have read it first, in which case she would have noticed that the information was not redacted? Yes. But her error was carelessness, not malice. She’s been someone who tries to share information with those who are not as connected to town matters, which is likely what she was thinking in this case. Big mistake, but the personal attacks on her seem a bit over the top. Go after the chief first.

    Someone certainly got the whole select board thinking that Brennan’s actions warranted termination before they knew what the law and best practices are… I’m thinking that’s the police chief, who also didn’t follow the law or standard policies.

    • So Amy should be afforded a pass, because her sharing was without malice? Everyone agreed that there was no malice in Sgt. Brennan’s actions, but as Amy said at the Loudermill hearing, “good people sometimes make serious errors in judgement”. If grace is to be extended, it should be universally applied, not selectively.

      • I’m not saying she should get a pass, but I’m saying that what the chief did by posting it (so that she was able to easily repost it, likely without taking the time to read it – assuming as most people would that it was a redacted version) was far worse. People are putting all their venom on her, and her mistake was passing along publicly posted information. Not a good call, but somewhat understandable. People do that every day. The original poster is the one who should be facing the harshest consequences.

        Re: Sgt. Brennan, it’s ridiculous that there’s any need for all of us to be forcing the board (or for that matter, the police chief) to follow standard protocols and simply put a note in his file. He did the right thing. I’d say she was wrong to call his decisions “serious errors in judgement.”

    • The Chief is the individual who distributed confidential information. Amy shared it. Maybe it’s not malice. Yet it’s a clear sign of ignorance…on both the Chief and a Board Member. There is no question changes need to be made. New Board members and a new Chief. Not to mention legal counsel to represent the town.

  3. Don’t try and cover for Critterbush! She should not be sitting in that seat! She doesn’t read anything! She should be up on criminal charges! All she can do is crinkle her forehead like she can’t believe how people are telling her she committed a crime!


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