On April 7, 2015 we will be voting on two seats for the Stoneham Board of Selectmen. There have been a lot of positive changes that have propelled our Town forward over the past several years. I was very excited to see a wider pool of Selectmen candidates this year, which means the excitement about contributions to continued progress is growing!
However, I was shocked and dismayed to see who is running for re-election. Ordinarily I’d never be so bold as to call out someone by name in a negative way, but I have had personal experiences that make me feel it is my duty to do so. As a resident, woman, and Mother, I am asking my neighbors not to vote for Bob Sweeney.
A year ago I was an active part of a sitting Selectman’s re-election campaign, serving as her Communications Manager. As I had stated then, up until that point I had not been active in anything Town-related. The Selectman candidate’s hard work had inspired and compelled me to change that. This, of course, made me and my activities visible, thus opening me up to criticism from the opposition’s supporters, which was perfectly normal and expected, as with any political campaign.
What I feel was not appropriate was what Bob Sweeney said about me in regards to his, shall I say, “deeply passionate dissatisfaction” with my efforts of supporting a candidate he was against, both to community members and on one occasion within my earshot. To have called me a b*tch, as well as made homophobic and misogynistic comments about me was not only disgusting, it was downright disturbing conduct for a public official.
Bob Sweeney has a documented history of such outrageous behavior and it’s time the community puts an end to his ability to adversely affect our Town. I mean really, the arrogance to act out in an explosive way during a meeting, as reported here:
Veteran Selectman Robert Sweeney cursed an elderly Larson Street resident and stormed out of a public hearing this Tuesday night on designating George Street as a one-way street.
With the Town Hall hearing room packed with area residents frustrated by the impacts of the one-way change, Sweeney’s outburst followed a suggestion by Larson Lane resident Art Bourrell that one of the Selectmen may be related to a George Street resident.
Even though Bourrell was the first speaker of the night, that suggestion of impropriety was enough for Sweeney, whose daughter (Erin Sweeney Sinclair) resides on George Street.
“Hey guy, why don’t you kiss my ass, alright?” interrupted the longtime Selectman in a raised voice, before storming out of the side door in the hearing room.
This is not the only occasion in which Bob Sweeney has disrespected residents during public meetings. But what was more disturbing to me was an incident that took place on June 10, 2014 in relation to a Board of Selectmen meeting. This was a matter of public record, so I most certainly invite and encourage residents to contact Town Counsel Bill Solomon (781-438-4543) to discuss and obtain further information, as warranted by the Request for Public Information Act.
As a result of that incident, there has been a police presence at every public meeting. This is what our Town has come to because of Selectman Sweeney’s actions, and I feel it’s absolutely unacceptable for Bob Sweeney to be permitted to continue in a Stoneham leadership position.
There have been many incidents beyond these that have involved Robert Sweeney, but I wanted to only speak out regarding my personal experiences and these two readily accessible ones that are of public record, as I respect my community neighbors’ safety and privacy.
I want to make it VERY clear that this post is of my own accord. While I’m an open and vocal Selectman Tom Boussy supporter, my overall point is that I feel Tom Boussy, Caroline Colarusso, and Erin Sweeney Sinclair are a refreshing candidate pool for the two open Selectmen seats- WITHOUT Bob Sweeney. It’s time for change away from Sweeney’s boorish brand of Town ‘leadership.’
I greatly hope that Stoneham residents make responsible and clear choices on April 7th, 2015.