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Town of Barrington Select Board Neglects Voters

To the citizens of Barrington,

I am writing this OpEd piece to inform you of a situation that has occurred with our local Select Board.However, before I get into that, a brief review is necessary.

Prior to the deliberative session in February, three LOCAL groups, each on its own and on their own initiative, proposed three different warrant articles.The subjects of these warrant articles are irrelevant.The process involved getting at least 25 signatures to be placed on the March 10 town meeting ballot as “petitioned warrant articles”.They were then presented to the town at the deliberative session and attendees were invited to comment.This right to comment is also extended to the Select People.

This is one of the purest forms of democracy available to us as citizens.It is a group of people who believe strongly in something and petition their fellow citizens for their support.It rises or falls on its own merit as determined by the voters of the town – in this case, Barrington.

As it turned out, the articles did appear on the town meeting ballots and all three received a clear majority of votes.That is the history of what I am about to discuss and why I am deeply concerned about the actions of our Select Board at the March 23, 2020, Select Board meeting.

All three articles contained language that directed the Select Board to take specific actions in the event that they were approved by the voters.Now the rub.At the meeting, in a 3-1-1 vote, the board voted to NOT comply with the warrant articles and NOT send them to the parties noted in the article.They instead dished it off to the petitioners with caveats.This is NOT what the warrant articles required.It is important that this mechanism has long been established as a way to communicate with our state representatives both in Concord and Washington as well as our Governor.It is giving power to your voice.

It is my view, as well as others involved, that the Board does NOT have this prerogative as the articles clearly stated that the Select Persons SHALL do the actions noted.

There are other factors such as a noncommunicative Town Administrator that did not answer multiple emails from multiple people about the status of these articles and thus the proponents were not available to speak to this issue at the meeting.This vote was done in the last few minutes of the meeting with little or no discussion.The LONE vote to comply with the articles was from Tracy Hardekopf.Dan Ayers, as has been his past practice, abstained from any vote on the matter.Andy Knapp, George Bailey and John Saccoccia all voted to ignore the wishes of the voters.

My alert to the townspeople is that this is what degrading our democracy looks like one bit at a time.Evidently, for reasons of their own, they did not like the articles and refused to comply with a clear majority of citizens that they, in theory, report to.This is an extremely slippery slope and I ask that you consider the ramifications. If a subject that you are passionate about comes up, you follow the rules and obtain a successful outcome would you want to have it thwarted by 4 select persons because “they don’t want to”.

If you have any questions, please let me know.As always, I answer all my email and most phone calls.My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please go to the Select Board website and register your concern.We are now, due to our notice of contest, on the April 13th agenda.

With Respect,

Matt Towne RN, CSP

Representative, Strafford County, District 4