An element of incivility was injected in Monday night’s Special Town Meeting by the very person who at the start of the proceedings lectured us all to be polite and reasonable.
Moderator Garry Blank was anything but moderate. He was belligerent, picking fights with not one, but two town residents who merely made procedural requests well within the rules of Town Meeting. Blank roared. He gestured. He threatened to have residents removed for exercising their rights.
In the end, those residents got their say and a majority of voters backed them. But only because a cooler head—town counsel—reacted calmly and reduced the temperature in the high school auditorium.
His “my way or the highway” attitude reared its ugly head several more times Monday night, frustrating citizens who came to do their civic duty, only to be silenced before they could speak.
The moderator’s job is not an easy one, but it is vital to the foundation of local government and our confidence in it.
Mr. Blank embarrassed himself, the Town Meeting process and town government. He violated his own terms right off the bat. He should apologize not only to the people he belittled, but also to the entire town.
Candus S. Thomson