Page 16 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, July 5, 2019 ASKS | FROM PAGE 1 addition to being elected to serve two two-year terms on the Annual Town Meeting, he has volunteered to help cleanup efforts on the Saugus portion of the Northern Strand Community Trail, town parks and playgrounds. Highlights of interview follow. Q: How did the whole idea for your resolution to help the school custodians evolve? A: I knew there was talk about privatizing them, and no elected officials were speaking up to defend them. So, I told my wife that I was going to go to bat for them, and strictly on my own – nobody asked me to do this – it was all on my own. And the resolution – I was supposed to keep it quiet, but it leaked out and everyone knew about it before I even handed it to the moderator. Q: So, you told a few colleagues and it got back to the moderator? A: Yeah. And now I think everyone in Town Hall knew about it before I handed it to the moderator. I don’t have proof of that, but I’m very confident that’s how it happened. Q: So, you told a couple of people? A: Yes. I talked to a few Town Meeting members because they had experience with resolutions, and I think it leaked out. I needed some advice on how to go about doing this, and I think it leaked out and everybody knew about it, so it wasn’t a secret on the first night of Town Meeting. Q: So, on the first night of Town Meeting, how did that go? A: I approached the moderator and I handed him a copy of it [the resolution], and he read it, and the first reason I was given – he told me I couldn’t read it because we have nothing to do with the schools, which I totally don’t agree with, seeing we approve the School Department budget. Then I got persistent and asked a few more questions, and I was told there would be an Open Meeting Law violation, which I didn’t know enough about Open Meeting Laws at the time, so that kind of shut me up. Q: So, you were told that if you introduced this resolution … A: It would be an Open Meeting Law violation. Q: Because it wasn’t on the agenda? A: Right, so I did some research and I found out that not only was that not true – the Open Meeting Law doesn’t apply to Town Meeting – but I called the Attorney General’s Office and confirmed it: that it wasn’t the real reason why I was being denied the right to introduce my resolution. I know what the real reason was; he [the moderator] just didn’t want me to read it. Q: Okay. So, the first night you tried to introduce the resolution, it was dead, so you regrouped ... A: Yes. Well, I talked to some people who have a lot of experience and I read in The Advocate that a former moderator said I should have been allowed. Once I heard that, I started researching my Robert’s Rules and I tried it a second time [at Town Meeting], and I got shot down again. The town counsel told me there would be no discussion that night. I’m no match for an attorney. Q: But if you had persisted under Robert’s Rules on the second night, you could have gotten the floor and called for a vote of Town Meeting members. A: Yeah. Well, I got up and I tried speaking and I got shot down. I probably could have tried a couple of other things with Robert’s Rules, but I didn’t want to cause a huge scene. And that’s the night that the signature drive came about. Q: So, how did that work? You were approached by … A: I was approached by some people who said they wanted to get the signatures for me to get up and read my resolution at a Special Town Meeting. Q: Corinne Riley? A: Yes. I wasn’t involved with the signature drive. She [Riley] did that all on her own, and I give her a lot of credit for doing that. Q: So, what did she say when she approached you? A: She told me she’s going to try to get the required signatures. She asked me if I would be okay with that, and I said I would be, and I sent her a copy of the resolution so she had it. And the very spot right here where we are talking [Dunkin’ Donuts on Hamilton Street] is where she got most of her signatures. She really kept that thing alive, because I was kind of running out of wind. The second time that I got shot down, I was really down on it and I was kind of done. Q: So, without that petition drive, you would have just let it go at that point. A: Yes. My wife was kind of getting on my case because it was consuming my whole life. I was kind of really down with it; I was really bummed out. It seemed like the town wasn’t going to let me read the resolution; it just seemed like they were pulling out all of the stops. I heard that other resolutions were read time and time again throughout the years, but for some reason, this time, they didn’t want one read. Q: Did you have any colleagues on Town Meeting come up to you and say, “Hey, this isn’t right?” Did you get any of that kind of feedback? A: Yes. From the people that supported me. I had support. Q: From how many people? A: I would say at least a half a dozen. I don’t want to say names, but I had some very strong support. Q: From sitting Town Meeting members who felt it was wrong what happened to you? A: Yes, absolutely. Q: And then you had the petition drive going. A: Yes. And then we got enough signatures. I was at the Selectmen’s meeting where Corinne [Riley] turned them in. I got up and thanked the selectmen, and I thanked her for calling the Special. I didn’t realize that the School Committee was meeting on the 20th [June] at the time, while the Special was the 24th [June], so I was kind of bummed out about that, but I found out later that it didn’t matter anyway, because they [the School Committee] voted on the 8th [May, Executive Session]. I felt like the whole thing was a setup to not let me speak. Q: The Board of Selectmen had some latitude there to schedule it so the timing was better for you. At least, Corinne Riley made the case, so you could have had the meeting before June 20. ASKS | SEE PAGE 17

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