DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

October 24, 2013

Editorial: Official silence does not serve the public good

(Continued)

A former town councilor, Kevin Coyle, has filed a Right-to-Know Law request with the town to get details of the severance arrangement, which he estimates at $43,000. It turns out Anderson is being paid $45,000.

Not all of Derry’s councilors agree with the gag order. Councilor Mark Osborne said he voted against the agreement.

“We remain gagged, bound, choked, threatened, cajoled, coerced, neutered, and browbeaten,” Osborne wrote to reporter Julie Huss. “Thus, no comments from Derry’s elected officials will be forthcoming because six of Derry’s seven town councilors willingly approved of such conditions. Please note that I voted against this condition as well as the entire settlement agreement. I’m just prohibited by the agreement for saying why. Real nice.”

Derry Councilors Al Dimmock and Phyllis Katsakiores told reporter John Toole that it’s difficult for them as elected officials to remain mum on a significant local issue.

Katsakiores said some people have approached her in church to ask about the situation.

“It is really frustrating because I think people have a right to know,” she said. “I don’t like this being kept behind closed doors. It just really bothers me. The taxpayers have a right to know what’s going on.”

Then speak up.

Falling back on “gag orders” and “policy” is just another way for elected officials to dodge their responsibility to the people who elected them.

Those who will not stand up and defend the right of the public to know what’s going on in their government do not deserve the trust of the people — or their votes.

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