Johnson, Kowalski, Wettlaufer recall; please don't be fooled!

Two disgruntled former chairmen, James Wettlaufer and Dave Kowalski, joined angry Brian Johnson, to put Kenneth Ference, member and chair of the Board of Health (“BOH”), and Dana Manning, member of the BOH, into their place.
The two members of the BOH voted for a change by ending Dave Kowalski´s “one man show” by approving a motion to elect Kenneth Ference to the position of the chair.
Kenneth Ference and Dana Manning had no other choice, as the Board of Health was dysfunctional to the point were conducting official business became impossible.
Shortly thereafter, Brian Johnson walked into a public meeting by the BOH and was not very happy when he, instead as the usual sign-off by the “god ol' boys” system, had to answer some questions.
The exemplary conduct by the two members, Ference and Manning, who refused to engage in the preferential treatment Brian Johnson expected, was answered with a frivolous open meeting law complaint by Johnson against Manning.
Despite a letter from the Attorney General's office that the case is dismissed without finding any open meting law violation on the side of Dana Manning, the disgruntled trio Johnson Kowalski and Wettlaufer started a recall against Ference and Manning.
The recall is based on lies, Kenneth Ference's and Dana Manning's conduct towards the three men, all weathered members of the “god ol' boys” network in town, was not “official misconduct,” it was threatening their self-serving corrupt ways. The recall of the two members of the BOH is an affront on our community and in particular, on every resident of our town who believes in a free civilized society, read more»

Posted on 30 Mar 2015, 18:08 - Category: Town Politics
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2014 Annual Town Election Results, Congratulations Mr. Mandell!

A total of 437 voters made the annual trip to the town hall to exercise their constitutional right to participate in forming the government of their community.
The big surprise this year is the failed attempt by incumbent chairman of the Board of Selectmen, James Wettlaufer, to keep his seat on the Board of Selectmen. Wettlaufer was defeated by a large margin by newcomer Larry Mandell, read more»

Posted on 9 Jun 2014, 20:27 - Category: Town Politics
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To be..... or not to be..... INFORMED! Thoughts about the Special Town meeting of Wednesday November 20, 2013.

There is a Special Town Meeting for the voters of Holland on November 20th at 7:00 PM at the Elementary School. The warrant for this Special Town Meeting is 28 pages long! I hope people aren’t thinking there will be time to read each article before it is voted on. First, there is way too much information in some of these articles to be able to do that, and second, don’t lose sight of the fact that Special Town Meetings are all too often used by the town officials to slide things past the voters. It is easy to do when attendance is low, the audience is stacked, and no one has taken the requisite time to read and understand what they are actually being asked to vote on. Read more»

Posted on 10 Nov 2013, 23:06 - Category: Town Politics
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2013 Annual Town Election Results, Congratulations Mr. Kennedy!

A total of 572 voters made the annual trip to the town hall to exercise their constitutional right to participate in forming the government of their community. Re-elected Town Clerk Kristin LaPlante is the most popular town official with 484 votes this year; Dori-Anne Ference is the most unpopular elected town official this year with 396 votes. Only the two positions where there was an actual contest attracted less votes because the votes were divided among the opposing candidates. read more»

Posted on 25 Jun 2013, 11:07 - Category: Town Politics
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Liars, Tigers, and Malfeasance Oh My!

Don’t bother trying to serve the community unless you are part of the “in”-crowd, read more»

Posted on 23 Jun 2013, 18:11 - Category: Town Politics
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Who is the better candidate, incumbent Michael Kennedy or real estate dealer Lawrence Mandell?

Michael Kennedy defeated Raymond Korny in the race for the seat vacated by former member of the select board, Earl Johnson. During the last three years, residents of Holland had an opportunity to get to know Michael Kennedy. Selectman Kennedy showed the community that he is a man with integrity, common sense, and, most important, free of any personal agenda.
I admit, I had my reservations about Mr. Kennedy, but what I saw over the last three years proved my reservations to be unfounded. Even three years ago, I noticed Mr. Kennedy’s fiscal responsibility when he, as a member of the Tantasqua Regional Highschool committee, opposed a wage increase for their teachers. (I wrote about it in the piece, Tantasqua Teachers receive wage increase.)
Larry-Mandell-sign I do not really know Mr. Mandell other than the few Planning Board (PB) meetings I attended while he served on that Board.
Today, someone emailed me a copy of a campaign flyer Mr. Mandell circulates through town. His flyer made me pause... The flyer summarizes five “specific matters which I [Mr. Mandell] plan to stridently advocate for.” (Mandell uses big words, I had to look up “strident;” it means, loud, harsh, grating, or shrill; discordant; the first example which came up on the web was; “the cheap clock ticked stridently.”)

In the first paragraph, Mandell voices his interest in, “open meetings with the participation of all interested residents,” in developing an updated master plan for our town. Under the second paragraph, Mandell promises to, “Implement Managerial Best Practices:” and claims, “implement state of the art managerial practices will lead to greater efficiency and better service to residents. ”As clerk of the Planning Board, Mr. Mandell could have shown over the last four years with actions what he is all about. I don’t see any of it! The most basic service he as the clerk of the PB could provide, is to post PB meeting minutes on the town’s official website. There are no minutes posted, NONE! To see for yourself, click here! (screen shot taken today, June 15, 2013).

The third paragraph outlines the intention to “Implement Hiring Best Practices:” Mandell describes the policy he and other members of the “Government Study Committee” developed and which he intents to implement to, “insulate the process from individual political and personal agendas.” It is never a good idea if a committee developing policies consists of the same members as the board which applies said policies. It is imperative for any democratic society that the mechanisms of checks and balances work; this is only the case if as many different individuals as possible participate in town government. To elect Mandell would concentrate power even more than it already is.
Mr. Mandell is already a member of the Holland School Committee, Tantasqua School Committee, Green Community Planning Committee, Government Studies Committee, and the Planning Board. He obviously has already a full plate and is very busy, to busy to provide the most basic services to the community (posting PB meeting minutes,) and now he would like to take on even more and be one of the three selectmen too.
If his wish will be granted by the majority of voters, we will have two members of the Board of Selectmen serving also on the Planning Board! The Building Inspector for instance has the last word in certain applications submitted to the PB, it is his final decision to either issue a building permit or not. The building Inspector decides whether an applicant needs to get first a permit from the Planning Board. If Mandell serves on the Board of Selectman, Lynn Arnold and Lawrence Mandell together form a quorum and have the power to either re-appoint the Building Inspector or not.

But lets analyze Mandell’s next strident avocation promised on his flyer, “Enhanced Communication and Coordination Between Elected and Appointed Town Officials:” Mandell suggests to have all town officials meet once a year to “outline issues and challenges that each department is currently dealing with.” And, “[t]his meeting would be open to town residents where community input would be solicited as well.” The fact that Mandell needed to mention that the meeting would be “open to town residents” made me pause again...
(BTW, Don’t we have already such a meeting? The annual town meeting? The meeting during which the moderator and other town officials cry “out of order” if anything is said which is controversial?)

Here Mandell’s last (political) promise, verbatim: “Integrate Board and Committee Reviews when Appropriate: As issues arise that need to be reviewed by more than one board, procedures should be established so that the issue could be presented at a single integrated meeting involving all interested parties. Eliminating the situation where a resident must present their issue separately to various boards and committees would result in a much friendlier interface with town officials.”
It struck me as odd that this kind of review “would result in a much friendlier interface” when I read this paragraph. I think that more professionalism and independent minds are needed at the town hall; applications should be processed fair and equal, regardless who submitted them, and not as popularity contests. If board members would understand their obligations based on applicable regulations, laws and bylaws, and would apply them based on the facts and not based on popularity of the applicant, individuals who dare to question town officials would not feel that they are on the way to a colonoscopy each time they go to a board meeting to apply for a permit.

Lawrence Mandell’s campaign flyer is lacking sound sense and argument. Mandell’s attempt to replace Kennedy is a step in the wrong direction. Kennedy has proven that he deserves the trust of the community. To have less and less individuals involved instead of more is not conducive to a healthy town government. Mandell, in his campaign flyer, reveals that he is the president of the Sturbridge Rotary Club; let's do the right thing and prevent the town hall from turning into another Rotary Club.

June 15, 2013, Peter Frei

Posted on 15 Jun 2013, 14:48 - Category: Town Politics
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The Planning Board is holding a hearing for bylaw changes on Tuesday February 28th at 7pm. A notice was mailed to everyone in Holland. Sending out a postcard of the meeting is all the town officials are required by law to do. If you want to know what the proposed bylaw changes are, you have to go to the town hall and ask for them. It is about 20 pages....OF VERY SCARY CHANGES THEY WANT TO MAKE!!! Many of the proposed changes GO AGAINST MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW!!!! For example, the Planning Board wants to extend the time they have to make a decision about permits.... in short, they have created a way to delay making a decision by keeping their time clock from ticking down simply be keeping the meeting on a topic open (tabling it until next month... then the month after that....and the month after that too....) MGL says 60 days, and the clock starts ticking when YOU (the taxpayer) files your request! DON'T LET THEM CHANGE THIS!! There is a change they want to make about the requirement to list abutters.... In some cases they want to WAVE the requirement to list all the abutters! WHAT? And keep secrets? Or keep thing HUSH HUSH for your friends??? Come on.... the law needs to apply to EVERYONE, not everyone EXCEPT YOUR FRIENDS! Another proposed change is to make MANY of the currently ELECTED positions into APPOINTED POSITIONS!!! YOU MUST BE KIDDING ME!!??? If people don't show up for this meeting the town government that you have, which is SUPPOSED to be a DEMOCRACY is going to become a DICTATORSHIP overnight!! It doesn't even make sense to change elected positions into appointed positions, all that does is give the Select Board ABSOLUTE POWER. What if the Select Board is CORRUPT? We as voters SHOULD NOT, under any circumstances< give up our power to choose as many officials as we can!!! In addition there is also a bylaw change that wants to make it even easier for the same people to serve on multiple boards. BAD IDEA!!! Nepotism is rampant enough here in Holland. This idea is a DISASTER! Let me say that again... A DISASTER!!!! You would be eliminating the little bit of of a oversight that exists!! If the tax collector is on the assessors board too..... think about how easy it would be to send yourself a tax bill for a mere $100.... and then you pay (to yourself, because you are tax collector too) your mere $100. Really..... there are a myriad of horrors that the Planning Board is trying to PULL on this community.... WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY! PLEASE COME TO THE MEETING ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28th at 7pm IN THE TOWN HALL AND VOTE!!! ASK QUESTIONS AND VOTE!!!!! DON'T LET THIS TOWN TAKE EQUITY AWAY AND BULLDOZE YOUR RIGHTS!!
Guest Writer

Posted on 26 Feb 2012, 16:41 - Category: Town Politics
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Its Official Now; Brian Haughey New Chief of Police.

Our community has a five year window of opportunity to establish and support a police force that ultimately will serve our community with integrity, and not their superiors in ex-change for job security, read more»

Posted on 27 Jun 2011, 23:32 - Category: Town Politics
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Don‘t Forget the Special Town Meeting this Tuesday, April 19!

There are two articles about bylaw changes which do not need to be on the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting slated for next Tuesday, April 19.
There is a third article, Article #7, nicely hidden in-between others, and I bet you don't know about it! Is there a reason why they are not on the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting?
Also, read about interesting history and facts in connection with two (hypocritical ?) individuals roaming our Town Hall...
Read more»

Posted on 15 Apr 2011, 15:58 - Category: Town Politics
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Public Hearing of March 22, 2011, on the proposed amendment of the Zoning Bylaw, and the proposed amendment to the General Bylaws to adopt the “Stretch Code.”

Lynn Arnold, the chair person of the Planning Board, gave a presentation about the four proposed amendments to the Holland Zoning Bylaws.
Two of the proposed bylaws amendments are needed in order to qualify as a “Green Community,” and to get grants awarded to “Green Communities.” Leaders were sleeping on the job and missed the boat last year when it was easier and more lucrative to get a sizeable piece of the pie.

Two of the bylaw changes, the two which are mandatory in order to comply with requirements to qualify as “Green Community,” will create a monopoly for one of Wettlaufer’s close friends and his business partner. These two particular individuals are the ones who control all the property located in the commercial district, the only district in which any of the solar energy generating, manufacturing, or research facilities can be built “as of right.”

For the third bylaw, the state recommends in its “Model Bylaw for Accessory Dwelling Units,” to allow such accessory dwelling units to be built within a home “as of right.”
Despite this recommendation by the Commonwealth, the Planning Board is trying to usurp control against the Commonwealth’s recommendation.

The bylaw as it is proposed by the Holland Planning Board will require a special permit to build any accessory dwelling and the Planning Board can deny applications on a whim.
The proposed accessory dwelling unit bylaw will make it more expensive for everybody who does not supplement their income by becoming a landlord. Detail-of-Wettlaufer-’s-Property-Record-Card-showing-the-listed-“MIXED-USE,-SINGLE-FAMILY-with-in-law.”
Did you know that our chairman of the Board of Selectmen, James Wettlaufer, already has an (illegal) “in-law” apartment?? (See image of Wettlaufer‘s Property Record Card pictured above)

Lynn Arnold proved again that she either has no clue — or she deliberately lied — claiming that it would be “illegal” to record a public hearing... Read more»

Posted on 24 Mar 2011, 02:18 - Category: Town Politics
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Proposed Zoning Bylaw Changes.

This coming Tuesday, March 22, a public hearing will take place to discuss the proposed bylaw changes.
The changes will be good news for many! It will become possible to have an apartment or even a separate accessory dwelling on one’s property which can be rented out..
Holland voters will vote on the proposed changes during the special town meeting planned to take place April 19, 2011.
Read more»

Posted on 18 Mar 2011, 22:18 - Category: Town Politics
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