The slippery leadership slope in Hadley

Published: 5/24/2021 1:28:12 PM Small towns are run by a variety of volunteer boards with varying missions and areas of expertise. ...

Published: 5/24/2021 1:28:12 PM

Small towns are run by a variety of volunteer boards with varying missions and areas of expertise. Disagreements sometimes develop between boards — different personalities are involved and certain topics evoke strong opinions.

Typically, these disagreements are worked through, and everyone moves on. Boards recognize they must represent the best interests of the entire town, not just a select few. And certainly not any political party.

Ongoing friction has been on display between the Hadley Select Board and Board of Health. So has disrespect. The Select Board ignored a unanimous recommendation by the BOH to opt the town out of mosquito spraying for one year to provide the BOH time to educate the public and research alternative mitigation measures.

Certain members of the Select Board even argued against public comment, although it was ultimately scheduled. In a split vote the Select Board ignored the recommendation of the BOH and moved forward to allow spraying. Maybe that is the best answer for Hadley, I don’t know. Ask our organic farmers.

What I do know is that the Select Board is not all-knowing. Other boards exist for a reason. Similar disrespectful rhetoric has spilled over targeting the Conservation Commission in recent weeks, another board that clearly possesses expertise the Select Board lacks. And they steamrolled the BOH and Senior Center director with an unexpected no vaccination required policy.

This practice is a slippery slope. The Select Board is signaling “we know best,” rather than listening to the experts and looking for a way to compromise or defer consequential decisions until agreement can be reached. Relying on the opinions of a “couple of people” is another slippery slope.

There are over 5,500 residents in Hadley. The third slippery slope is that municipal employees are watching. Once a culture of disrespect sets in, it becomes pervasive and makes for an unpleasant work environment.

Hadley is not a political “bubble.” We have wonderful diversity in opinions and ideas, and all must be taken into account by the Select Board, even the ones they personally don’t like. That is true leadership.

Molly Keegan


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Newsrust - US Top News: The slippery leadership slope in Hadley
The slippery leadership slope in Hadley
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