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Letter to the Editor: Acceptable behaviour, or favouritism?

Dear Editor:

WS-xx-letter to the editor

I would like to bring an incident to light that seems to be part of an ongoing and alarming set of events that has been plaguing our town for four years. I am aware with this letter that I may open myself to what seems to be a trend by members and staff our current council to seek legal action against me. However, I have not fought in WW2 against the Nazi regime to be silenced by a few people of lesser power. I will exercise my right to voice an opinion.
On Sept 5 of this year my family participated and witnessed a proud moment to us as my daughter put forth her name as a candidate to run for town council of Marystown.
I was also there to witness many of her peers who were being civic minded as well. They are the sons and daughters of fine citizens of this town, most who have since passed on. They would have been just as proud as I was to watch them vie for a role to lead our town.
When we arrived at the signing, there was a crowd gathering in the hallway.
When we were ready to see the mayor sign his papers to run for another term, I was struck by why this event was happening in such a small room.
People were crowding in, some were left outside in the hallway and to say it was sweltering in that room was not an exaggeration.
The town clerk was running the nominations and, on several occasions, was asked to open the divider wall that separated this small room from the main council chambers to get more air circulating.
Each time he refused and gave no reason why he couldn’t…or wouldn’t. Others asked for air conditioning to be switched on. Again the reply was no; it was on an auto shut off at 5 p.m. every day and he couldn’t override it.
I myself was overcome with the heat and people had to bring me water. My wife, who is not well, was extremely uncomfortable as were several other seniors present who were forced to sit down before they literally passed out.
These conditions didn’t need to exist in my opinion.
Simple courtesy was all that was required by the town clerk to make this a great experience for all involved. Surely, the council chamber should have been the natural location anyway, as it was able to fit a great many people if it was needed.
When we were leaving the room, roughly 35 people of our group moved into the council chamber and another large group proceeded into the smaller room.
Within five minutes of our entrance into the council chambers, the town clerk entered and asked us to leave because he wanted to open the dividing doors for the other supporters of the other candidate and needed us to vacate the room.
There was an immediate verbal reaction to this request and he was told in no uncertain terms that there would be a problem if he did for these people what he had refused to do for us.
The town clerks words were swift; he whipped out his phone and said, “If you don’t leave, I’m calling the RCMP.”
I was dumbfounded. I was in a building that my tax dollars went to pay for and I was being told to leave so a courtesy that was blatantly denied to all other groups before them could be extended to one.
One might argue there was no need for a verbal confrontation. But sometimes a loud and confident voice is what’s needed to get a point across.
The town clerk then left the room and again came back and went to the door nearest the stairs and asked us again to leave, for what I believe to be no other reason that to accommodate the comfort of the other candidate and their supporters. To me, these actions showed favoritism and not those of an unbiased member of staff.
This man, this paid employee of the town in my opinion had no more respect for me, for my family or the people around us. He was willing to have the RCMP come to a public building and have myself and my wife escorted off the property or arrested?
How sir, I ask, of you, how you think that in any way you portrait a positive image of this town when you treat people in that manner? How do you speak for the thousands of people who live here?
I once held the position you are currently in, sir. And I will tell you without blinking an eye, that I held that position as a position of honour.
You are a public servant. You are not in a position of power. The power comes from the people. You are supposed to take pride in working for your community. Where is that pride, sir?
My current concern, as should be everyone of this town, is that the town clerk is also the Chief Returning Officer for this election.
My question is: How can a person who treats the public so poorly, who shows, in my opinion, an allegiance to a specific set of candidates and is also a person who has sued the Mayor of Marystown for harassment be an unbiased representative for the 2017 municipal election?
I am calling for the Department of Municipal Affairs to take immediate action and to take a serious look at what has been happening in this town.
Thank you for this opportunity to express my opinion.

Most sincerely,
Cyril F. Butler
Marystown, NL

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