Letter to the editor: Fritz was ambushed
Having read Andy Kirkaldy’s July 17 account of the July 16 Vergennes City Council warned meeting, and having watched a video of the meeting on Saturday, I am compelled to write this letter to support Jeff Fritz, and to condemn the flawed and outrageous process by which he was forced to resign.
I am a resident of Waltham, and although we are part of the larger Vergennes community as a satellite town, we have no say in this local governing matter. We are, however, dependent on the city and care deeply for its health and vitality, which have been damaged by this incident.
I have known Jeff for many years and know him to be a kind, passionate, and dedicated civil servant who has added tremendous value to our community. To see him treated this way, in what appears to be a coordinated effort to remove him from his elected position, brings shame to Vergennes and its council. I am of course not privy to everything that happened here, but from what I did witness and read, it is hard to characterize this as anything other than an ambush.
I served as chairman, and have been a member of Waltham’s DRB for over 40 years, and in that role know something about civic comity, and about officially warned public hearings. My questions are: 1) Was the discussion of the texts published as part of an agenda for this public meeting? 2) Were any council members privy prior to the meeting that these texts existed and were to be publicly aired? 3) Were any council members aware of the letter and statement that was to be read and presented by Ms. Jackson Donnelly? 4) Why was this matter not handled on regular business or by a separate and duly warned meeting where the issues and contents were transparently made available to the public?
In the video of the meeting, during the period where the issues were raised, am I right that no council member other than Ms. Jackson Donnelly spoke, made comments, or raised questions about the process? What I heard was a straight up vote, and other than that, silence from the body. Why did no one demand that the meeting be stopped in the moment, and continued in a later session? This was how an elected mayor with a long record of service was treated by the representatives of the community? I would hope for the sake of all us in the larger community this matter is not left like this. It needs to be revisited, and handled in a professional and fully transparent and legal manner. A large effort will be needed to remove this stain.
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