Conflict of Interest?

Date: 5/11/2009

The Longmeadow Youth Sports Council (LYSC) sponsored a so-called "open forum" whereby the candidates running for the Select Board positions were all invited questions were asked via e-mail in advance questions vetted and then each participating candidate was asked by the moderator, the same question. Sounds good on the surface, but something is amiss!

This was a flawed forum from the get-go. The only way to submit a question was via e-mail that situation alone precludes many seniors from asking questions of the candidates. When asked about who will be previewing the questions, the President of LYSC stated in writing, "We will review the list of questions and eliminate any redundancies and also any inappropriate questions."

Who was the "we" who previewed the questions, I ask?

I submitted three questions, one being "Is there any conflict of interest issues that might occur if you were elected to the Longmeadow Select Board? If so, can the candidate describe the potential conflict."

I thought it was a good, solid question to ask each candidate, but I never dreamt that the conflict would be caused by the forum sponsors who had an obligation per their own words, "to review the list of questions."

They (the LYSC) had access to each question beforehand. Never, ever should any questions where even the whisper of conflict could be construed, be allowed to be asked.

It seems very peculiar to me that two members of the present School Committee who have a fellow compatriot running for the Select Board submitted questions via e-mail as well as a member of the sponsoring group those same questions were all picked at random! How can that be? Were there so few questions submitted?

The questions from Geoff Weigand and Armand Wray (present School Committee members) and Jim Brennan (LYSC member and sponsor of the forum) should have been eliminated from the inception as well any question from Arlene Miller, who is a candidate's "campaign manager." The questions from those people were strictly a "conflict of interest." They should never have been asked!

Connect the dots! Did the LYSC, who was the sponsor of the forum, have a "horse in the race?" I think they did!

It seems very odd, doesn't it? What are the chances of this happening? Mathematically given the fact that there were XXXX of questions submitted those three questions being picked at random is a one and what 5,000 chance! Nifty odds. These guys should be living at the track!

Diane B. Nadeau