Friday, March 17, 2006

Inquisitions, responsibility & why Upham must go

by Don Crandall

I attended one of the special council sessions on March 14, 2006 to see how they (the Council) were dealing with the current crisis caused by the departure of Mr. Berkowitz and the town Clerk.

Did you know that the council will be spending over $4,500.00 to retain a head hunter service to replace Mr. B.? I don't blame him for wanting to move on, given the horribly adverse situation that he has been forced to endure over these many months. I have since learned there is some history between Mr. B. and Andy Upham. Apparently Mr. B. didn't hire Mr. Upham when he had applied for a paid position in the town. It could be that the push to harrass Mr. B into leaving was fueled by Mr. Upham's voracious appetite for revenge. I have also heard him quoted when running for office that "he wanted to cause trouble."

The $4,500.00 + is the tip of the iceberg, however. Your tax money has been squandered on a law suit that has been lost several times in the past (Pennell). We can only imagine the attorney's fees incurred to correct this council's ignorant, bumbling mistakes. Heaven only knows what other costly errors have been covered up. It would be refreshing for the Council to publish how much money they have spent on legal fees this year.

Mr. Upham has a regular habit of harassing and humiliating volunteers on the town's committees. Don't take my word for it. Go get the CDs of the meetings at the library. Better yet, wait till the next victim is brought before the council and attend. During the Spanish Inquisition the Inquisitor would often hold a blank paper and pretend to read charges written on it. The accused was never allowed access to the document. I have seen Mr. Upham waive papers and make innuendos in a similar manner. It is truly chilling to see this tactic resurrected. Nazi judges also used this tactic during the reign of the Third Reich.

It is interesting to note that there are a lot of vacancies on our committees. Perhaps if nice folks didn't feel they had to face the Upham Inquisition they would be more prone to volunteer.

Mr. Foster is council chair in name alone. In some senses Mr. Foster is a victim as well. I have never observed him do anything that Andy Upham did not approve. During the meeting on March 14, 2006 Mr. Foster hardly said anything. He nodded his head as the Mr. Upham called the shots. They (the council) seemed to be stuck on locating the criteria that the prior search committee used to screen candidates for Manager. Sitting right in front of them was Mr. B. I suggested to them that perhaps they should ask him to put down his thoughts as to what to ask prospective candidates in addition to locating the other information. Kudos to Ms. Duda for picking up that ball and running with it. It seemed common sense to me to ask the person who has been doing the job to detail in writing the problems and situations the Manager for the Town of Gray might encounter.

We have heard a constant grinding drone about "Order of Magnitude, Force over Distance, I have a concern, yada yada...." Mother taught me a long time ago that one doesn't have to step in BS to recognize it. Mr. Upham must go because we must stop our descent into a vortex of ignorant, self-serving, demagoguery.

Is Mr. Upham a devil incarnate? No. He is human, like me with as many faults and virtues as I have. Is he competent to make good decisions as a Town Councilor? To that I have to answer no. Therefore, he should be replaced. I am not comfortable having him make decisions regarding how my tax money is spent. If you aren't alarmed as well, you haven't been paying attention. It is your civic responsibility to be aware of what your local government is doing. Democracy is a garden that must be weeded continually. Failure to do so will cause it to strangle and die.

Vote to remove Upham.