North Stonington Selectman Bob Testa says he's seeking hard facts, not hard feelings

Concerning the March 30 front-page article, "Tempers raging on North Stonington Board of Selectmen," a little perspective is in order.

Most people would agree that there are differences of opinion amongst members of any board. We are no different. Despite those differences the Board of Selectmen have worked well together on town-related matters and are continuing to move forward on many topics.

Since becoming a selectman last November, I have brought forth several initiatives to improve service to the community. They include the establishment of public emails for all of the selectmen, supporting audio recording of meetings and addressing long-standing traffic concerns. I have also brought forth a proposal for the establishment of an ethics policy and commission.

The length of meetings has been a problem for many years. It has nothing to do with my election to the board. There has been no "digging" necessary to find issues. The fuel-oil situation was brought forward by a member of the North Stonington Volunteer Fire Co. What I consider the concealment of a street sweeper in the budget - under contractual services - came to light by way of questioning by Selectman Mark Donahue. The 26-year policy that "encouraged" resident troopers and other troopers in our area to use town fuel was voluntarily disclosed by First Selectman Nicholas H. Mullane II during a budget discussion regarding inventory controls at the Highway Department. It is my contention the practice violates State Police policies.

Controversy has resulted from the highway foreman recently going to the fire department on a Sunday, removing more than 400 gallons of fuel oil and then taking the oil to his home. The question as to why the oil was brought to his home has, in my opinion, not been adequately answered and requires further review. Mr. Mullane, I feel, is obstructing these efforts.

By his own admission, Mr. Mullane was contacted by the fire company in his capacity as first selectman to have the oil removed and it was he who instructed the highway foreman to remove it.

This incident is not just about the issues surrounding the oil. It is about the public's trust and confidence, as well as the honesty and integrity of all involved. These core values should never be compromised under any circumstances. We all have an obligation to serve the greater good of this community and not the interest of town insiders and friends.

Properly doing one's duty, while representing the people, is not politics, it's our job.

Bob Testa is a North Stonington selectman.

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