Several Sudbury residents have expressed concern over the way new members were added to the Finance Committee, including selectman Bob Haarde, who said he believes the process is the latest sign of a troubling trend in the town’s local government.
Town Moderator Myron Fox made the addition of Jeff Barker, Adrian Davis, Fred Floru and Jose Garcia-Meitin to the Finance Committee.
Haarde and other residents who have reached out to Patch believe it appears new members were recruited behind the scenes, and the application and interview process did not take place as it normally does.
Tammie Dufault and Robert Stein, who were previously members of the Finance Committee and who were critical of the town’s spending, are no longer on the board. Haarde said he believes it is due to the stances they took that were in opposition to the remainder of the board.
“Financial statements were not released until it was too late to impact the Town Meeting warrant, which I would say is unfortunate,” said Haarde. “We had members who wanted to see the numbers before Town Meeting. Unfortunately those members are now gone, and they’ve been replaced. It does appear they’ve suffered retribution for seeking more financial transparency.”
Haarde said his biggest concern is that he believes the Finance Committee situation is just another sign of a bigger problem.
“This is a longstanding problem in Sudbury that anyone who voices dissent is silenced,” said Haarde. “Instead of having public discussion like adults and allowing all voices to be heard, Sudbury doesn’t operate that way. Sudbury tries to silence anyone with that voice, eliminate that voice, and not work through any of the issues that are before the town.”
The Sudbury selectman said he believes the solution comes by more residents getting involved in town government. Haarde also said he hopes to see the town arrive at a point where residents can agree to disagree.
“These Finance Committee appointments that were done secretly and privately without any discussion are a real black eye for the town and a big step backward,” said Haarde. “The more people that get involved, the sooner we will get a place where we can sit down as adults, discuss things as adults, and let all voices be heard. We can agree to move on as friends and residents. That’s how a town should be run. I hope we get there soon.”
Editor's Note: The wording of the second paragraph of this story was changed on Monday, May 19, as the timing of the appointments was incorrectly written.