To the editor:
Many are beyond disappointed by the recent actions and vote taken by four members of the Tiverton Town Council. As a lifelong Tiverton resident who has attended countless town meetings, the actions, position and vote of four town councilors to remove Joan Chabot as Town Council president was unwarranted.
Councilor Joan Chabot has been for years a thoughtful, poised and dedicated town steward for all Tiverton residents. It's been Councilor Chabot's common practice to be available, to approach topics and opinions with an open mind, to be accepting of change, and to be willing to listen to all sides of a discussion.
Considering Thursday evening's discussion, the opinion of some on the council are that these are her weaknesses. At times, I have personally disagreed with a vote that Councilor Chabot has taken. But I have never questioned Joan's intentions, her due diligence, her character, her presence or her ability to lead.
Apparently, I am not alone. Just under 100 Tiverton residents packed Town Hall on Thursday in support of Joan Chabot as Town Council president. The turnout at the meeting, which conflicted with other town meetings as well as the New England Patriots season opener, should have spoken volumes to town leadership. However, the only thing it appeared to do was annoy the four councilors who arrived with a mission to execute their pre-developed plan.
We must ask ourselves: Why did four town councilors avoid voting for a meeting continuance to have all councilors present? Why weren't these same four town councilors not willing to re-post the meeting to include public comment? Not interested in hearing what voters had to say? Or do these four town councilors only direct comment from the “back room” at Town Hall?
We should also be curious as to why the apparent grave concern around leadership wasn't addressed at the recent Town Council goal-setting meeting on July 31. Even if a town councilor couldn't attend the July meeting, written comments could have been submitted by council members for discussion and review. In its absence, it leads one to believe that there was never any intent on collaborating for a solution around this topic.
Being a leader is more than just having a title; it's having the respect and support of a community of followers. Councilor Chabot, you have our respect and our continued support.