, Salem, MA

April 10, 2014

Letter: Columnist off base on council vote

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I would suggest that Nelson Benton get a new and perhaps more accurate local news source for some of his long-distant comments. In a recent column (”A good week for Salem mayor,” March 21), in a rather lame attempt to give additional support to his favorite mayor, he once again reached into his bag of derogative words and reported that all but one member of the Salem City Council “cowed” when it came to a vote to take the appointment of the fire and police chiefs out of civil service.

What actually happened was this: On Wednesday evening, in a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, every councilor, with the exception of Councilor Famico, got up and spoke in favor of keeping the appointment in compliance with civil service protocols. Councilor Famico was the only councilor who spoke in favor of the mayor’s proposal to change the process. In attendance at that gathering were many supporters of and members of the fire and police departments. When it came to a vote, every councilor present, including Councilor Famico, voted to keep the appointment process as it now stands. It was a unanimous vote against the proposal.

The following night, at the regularly scheduled council meeting, with no police or fire presence, Councilor Famico, changed her position and on that occasion, voted in favor of the mayor’s proposal. So, Mr. Benton’s star of the day was the only person who changed her vote or “cowed” (to use his word, not mine) because as he inferred, there was a police and fire presence at the meeting.

Frank Kulik