I am writing regarding the behavior exhibited by town moderator Garry Blank at Monday’s Town Meeting. His conduct and his words during this meeting were not only unbecoming of an elected official, they were downright rude and disrespectful.
Mr. Blank had just finished giving a speech to the audience. His exact words were, [I] “ask all of you, please have empathy for, be tolerant of, patient with, remain quiet for every speaker, listen intently, with open mind to each speaker despite differences you may have…” He also asked that people “remain focused and work hard together with me…in a calm, courteous and dignified manner…”
I don’t think I need to point out that Mr. Blank did not conduct himself in a courteous and dignified manner when responding to both Jonathan Finn and Tina Walker-Morin. He was dismissive, talked over them, and seemed absolutely unwilling to listen to their motions, despite his just asking the audience to be respectful of (our) differences. Mr. Finn and Ms. Walker-Morin were, in fact, bringing up a valid point about a voice vote being difficult to discern when half the audience is wearing masks. A point which, when a vote was finally taken, the majority of the audience agreed with.
Mr. Blank’s sanctimonious “I disagree with you” statement (to Mr. Finn) about the voice vote also proved to be dismissive to those in attendance.
I am at a loss to understand why Mr. Blank asks the citizens of Sandwich to conduct themselves in a certain way, when he cannot seem to conduct himself as such. At the very least, Mr. Blank owes both Mr. Finn and Ms. Walker-Morin a public apology. It would probably be a good idea to apologize to those in attendance at Town Meeting for assuming he knew better than they did about how to conduct a vote at this particular meeting. Mr. Blank, as an elected official, is failing in his responsibilities if he conducts himself in such an uncivil and ill-mannered way. I, along with other voters in this town, will surely remember this.
It would be prudent for town officials to come together and ask for Mr. Blank to publicly apologize. We cannot set a precedent for being complicit in allowing this behavior to continue. It’s completely unacceptable. The sooner he apologizes, the sooner we can move on, and he can have a chance to prove himself worthy of the position he was elected to.
Gretchen L. Mulroy