Re: Corruption in Canton Government
posted at 2/10/2013 12:02 PM EST
In response to PatrioticPilgrim's comment:
Having watched the cheesy machinations of Canton town government for 20 years, I first want to commend the 2 selectmen, Del Vechio and Salvatori, who immediately voted to oust Mr. Murphy from our Conservation Commission, after discovering he had been giving engineering contracts to HIMSELF...a cut above the usual practice of giving them to your buddies. (Ref. the article in Globe South today .) Mr. Burr, why did you hesitate? Consult your lawyer?
Thank you Mr. Rohr, for your courage. And you, Ms. McClain for deciding to put your hat in the ring for an office in our town on the Planning Commission.
At what point does unethical behavior slip over into felonious behavior in a town governed in the 'Dictatorship by Clique' format? I was told while on the FinCom that I needed to 'go through the chairs' to get involved in Canton politics...to get experience, but also to get vetted to make sure I was a 'good fella'. When I asked why our building inspector made more money than any other building inspector in Ma (we are a small town), I was told, "why don't you find out and report back to us?" by a FinCom chair with a crocodile smile probably because we were being videotaped. He was later indicted for accepting kickbacks from contractors (one of whom who is also a convicted felon and on our Zoning Commission). Etc. etc. Because of collusion (shame on the selectmen who defended Murphy), the beat goes on.
According to the minutes, commission members expressed to Hucksam that “trust had been lost” and the commission was “disappointed with Mr. Murphy for not coming forward or recusing himself from hearings involving M&M Engineering.” The minutes indicate Murphy was listed as the president and phone contact for M&M Engineering, which had most recently submitted an application for a property at 18 Hillsview St. that included storm water plans with “incorrect drainage calculations, elevations, and hydrograph information.”
The minutes state that Hucksam told the commission that Murphy admitted to being involved with M&M Engineering since October 2011, but that it was unclear what Murphy’s role and involvement was. Hucksam said that the issue was never brought to the attention of town counsel before then, and that Murphy should not review plans or permit applications from M&M Engineering. The minutes also state that “Hucksam strongly recommended not contacting the State Ethics Commission,” or risk “a full investigation that could take several months.”
Before the meeting ended, the commission members voted 5-2 to recommend that Murphy submit a letter of resignation by Nov. 13, or to ask that selectmen terminate his contract.
Hucksam could not be reached for comment.
Reached by e-mail, Murphy, who lives in Easton, declined to comment on the situation.
“I appreciate that fact that you contacted me regarding this matter,” he wrote in his e-mail. “However, the entire matter was in executive session, and as such I cannot discuss it at this time no matter what others have done.”
In an interview, commission member Bruce Rohr said he was surprised at how selectmen reacted to the panel’s recommendation to force Murphy out.
“The Conservation Commission, on our own, discovered that Bob Murphy was [involved with] M&M Engineering,” said Rohr. “I thought they would have thanked us, that we uncovered corruption in town. We were shocked.”
Rohr said the selectmen defended Murphy and told commission members that “the problem was with us and we should have solved the problem on our own.” He said that he doesn’t know how they could have handled anything differently, because the commission has limited authority. Commission members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen to serve three-year terms.
Rohr, whose term expires in April, said selectmen have since been trying to stop officials from discussing the subject. He said what upsets him more is “not the original crime, it’s the cover-up.”
Burr denied Rohr’s claim of any “cover-up,” saying the board was simply following the advice of the town’s lawyer. “Town counsel advised both the Board of Selectmen and the Conservation Commission not to speak regarding the matter,” said Burr. “That came from the town counsel.”Continued...
Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.