To the editor:
I am writing in response to Sandy Bodmer-Turner's letter supporting Tom Kehoe for Manchester selectman (the Times, Thursday, May 10).
I would like to address some issues in her paragraph about the harbor.
I chaired of the Harbor Advisory Committee during the time Ms. Bodmer-Turner referenced in the letter. As she was not in attendance at my meetings, I'm sure it appeared my resignation seemed "abrupt;" to those of us volunteering hundreds of hours trying to clean up the harbor, it was anything but.
Regarding the comment that "most of the committee" resigned, let me clarify that. Two of the committee members had said they would leave the committee at term's end, but supported me and the committee's decision to resign alongside me. All six of the committee members supported what became the mass resignation of the harbor committee.
Here are the facts:
1. In chairing the Harbor Advisory Committee, I established four agenda items: Rewrite mooring regulations, re-engage dredging, perform a harbor safety audit, and establish harbor administration mooring records. The first three were relatively easy as they were largely controlled by the committee. The fourth was where we tan into resistance.
2. On numerous occasions. I was denied access to the harbor's public records by the former harbormaster with the support of the town administrator despite the fact that the harbormaster had been instructed by the state public Records Division to provide such records, as there were no privacy issues associated with the requested data. As a last resort, I went before the Board of Selectmen to explain my frustration with being refused access to the harbor's records.
The selectmen made a motion demanding the records be turned over to the committee. I was again refused. I went before the board a second time explaining that I was denied access to public records again. Again, the Board of Selectmen made a motion demanding the records be turned over; I was refused yet again.
3. With the Board of Selectmen enforcing neither their own motions nor the state Public Records Division's instruction, what is a volunteer committee left to do? Despite everything my committee had accomplished that year, I believed the relationship of confidence between the Board of Selectmen and the Harbor Advisory Committee had been lost and felt it was no longer possible to be a part of the committee.
4. After my committee resigned, Selectwoman Sue Thorne called me to ask me to reconstitute my committee and do the on-the-water mooring audit. A "quitter" would have said no; instead, I convinced the committee and many volunteers to perform the inventory. I prepared a lengthy report and an executive summary, which I presented to the Board of Selectmen after the mooring audit was completed.
It included five motions, which I asked the Board of Selectmen to make that night ensuring the appropriate followup to my committee's hard work. The Board of Selectmen begrudgingly accepted the motions in one form or another. One of the motions I asked for was to hire a new harbormaster by Dec. 15, 2011.
KAREN SMITH CRAWLEY
Former chairwoman, Manchester Harbor Advisory Committee
The writer is also a candidate for the Manchester Board of Selectmen