In an August 14 letter posted on Wicked Local Wayland, Linda Segal takes Board of Selectmen members Mary Antes, Cherry Karlson, and Joe Nolan to task for denying "our community the opportunity of [Annette] Lewis’ expertise, proven skills and dedicated service as a Finance Committee member."

To be fair, Antes, Karlson, and Nolan did exactly that, as the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously (3-0 with 2 abstentions) to appoint Tom Abdella and David Watkins to the Wayland Finance Committee. That said, much of Ms. Segal's letter deserves a response.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
WAYLAND

TO THE EDITOR:

The Wayland Town Crier article "Two new FinCom members" (Aug. 7) is an informative piece about two town officials recently appointed to the Finance Committee by the Board of Selectmen. The vote was 3-0, with two abstentions.

Five impressive candidates applied for the vacancies. Two had no town government experience.

Anette Lewis was deemed by a majority of the selectmen (Mary Antes, Tony Boschetto and Ed Collins) to be the most qualified, most experienced, hardest working, and most prepared to hit the ground running to serve our community.
Here, Ms. Segal introduces facts not in evidence. A "majority of selectmen" deemed no such combination of attributes. A view of the BOS meeting video reveals the closest statement to this effect to be Tony Boschetto's comments to the tune that "we've all said that Ms. Lewis is the most experienced, the most dedicated, and the most knowledgeable." Like Ms. Segal, Mr. Boschetto is in error--they (the members of the BOS) did not *all* say this ... or even much of this.

Yes, Ms. Antes used the phrase "most qualified" to describe Ms. Lewis, but Ms. Segal greatly distorts the context of the remark by omitting Ms. Antes' full statement, which was to the effect that "while Ms. Lewis is the most qualified [unstated, but inferred: in a technical sense], she's not well-suited to the board in terms of 'social fit' (my phrase)." In short, Ms. Antes viewed the "total Lewis package" (again, my phrase) as being not as strong as that of Mr. Abdella and Mr. Watkins. To be sure, the majority of Ms. Antes' time was devoted to the social challenges that Ms. Lewis would bring to the table.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
Yet [Ms. Lewis] became the victim of character assassination.
"Character assassination" could not be further from the truth. When members of a board are faced with making appointments, they have two options. One, they can laud the attributes of the nominees that they support, remaining silent on other nominees. Two, they can add commentary on the weaknesses of the other nominees. Ms. Antes, initially, and later, Ms. Karlson and Mr. Nolan, to all of their credit, respectfully expressed their concerns about Ms. Lewis' social fit.

Ms. Segal is no stranger to telling the truth and not pulling punches. The same can be said of Ms. Lewis. Neither has any grounds to object to the honest, transparent remarks offered by Ms. Antes, Ms. Karlson, and Mr. Nolan.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
After the Town Election in April, Selectmen Cherry Karlson and Mary Antes had asked Lewis to mentor them, which she generously did. Then they threw her under the proverbial political bus.
I don't know whether Ms. Karlson or Ms. Antes used the word "mentor," but the word rings false given the extensive service to the Town of Wayland that both have offered. Did they receive input and advice from Ms. Lewis? Probably. Were they mentored? Not in my book.

As for the "proverbial bus," Ms. Lewis wasn't thrown or even nudged. No, that distinction is sadly reserved for former Town Administrator Fred Turkington, who found himself looking up at an undercarriage at the hands of current Selectmen Boschetto and Ed Collins and former Selectman Doug Leard.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
There could have been a fair and transparent process. Professionally conducted interviews usually follow established criteria based on the position that needs to be filled. Wayland’s Personnel Board uses a matrix to facilitate clarity, thoroughness and objectivity.
During the meeting, Ms. Antes remarked that Ms. Lewis would often speak at Town Meeting to report that she had not been given answers to questions that she had asked. Ms. Antes asked members of the BOS, members of the Finance Committee, and the Town Administrator why they hadn't answered Ms. Lewis' questions. Ms. Antes was informed that the issue wasn't that Ms. Lewis wasn't given answers, it was that she was given answers she didn't like.

Well, that seems to me what's happening here. Ms. Segal, there WAS a fair and transparent process. There just wasn't an outcome you liked.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
The Board of Selectmen interview on July 28 appears in Part 1 of WayCAM’s recording (http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com); deliberations are in Part 2 (approximate elapsed time is 00:10:50).

Antes said she was so sad and felt so bad that she could not support Lewis. Antes came prepared with researched criticisms, without citing specific examples or naming sources. Had she verbalized her concerns during the interview and openly to the candidate, Lewis could have had a chance to respond.
As I noted above, Ms. Antes DID cite specific examples in the form of her inquiries to the BOS, the FinCom, and the Town Administrator.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
Selectman Karlson added more ammunition about a financial reporting model, also not raised during the interview. Selectman Boschetto countered that the model Lewis had suggested earned Weston an award for excellence.

Chapter 19-1 in Wayland’s bylaws prohibits the two new FinCom appointees from continuing to serve on the town committees the Town Crier story described (because they spend money). The selectmen failed to mention conflict of interest. Lewis has no such conflicts.
Chapter 19-1 isn't a reason to disqualify nominees from consideration. Presumably, any appointed FinCom member will step down from any other board on which he or she serves.

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
Lewis is the only candidate who regularly attended FinCom meetings the last two years. She’s worked diligently with the committee and new director, cultivating a collaborative and trusting relationship. At the March 3, 2014 meeting, while discussing the possible loss of a long-serving member, the committee thanked Lewis for the detailed assistance she had provided.

The selectmen routinely ask residents to apply to serve in town government, citing desired skill sets, credentials and experience. Wayland already has many extraordinarily talented and committed volunteers.

Why would qualified residents risk appearing for an interview when the experience of others has been problematic or tainted by political winds? Even more troubling under such circumstances is receiving a letter afterwards saying you were not appointed, but consider applying for other openings in town government.
"Political winds?" Really? It's politics, OF COURSE there are political winds. And as the saying goes, "elections have consequences" (in this case, the loss of the Boschetto-Leard-Collins majority in the wake of their ambush of Mr. Turkington).

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
Anette Lewis was denied her right to due process and fair consideration. The votes by Antes, Karlson and Nolan deny our community the opportunity of Lewis’ expertise, proven skills and dedicated service as a Finance Committee member.
Ms. Lewis was NOT denied her right to due process and fair consideration. In fact, If anyone should be wondering about the process, it should be Mr. Watkins.

Mr. Boschetto moved that the BOS appoint Ms. Lewis and Mr. Watkins to the Finance Committee. Mr. Collins seconded the motion, then amended it to replace Mr. Watkins' name with Mr. Abdella's name. Astonishingly, Mr. Boschetto seconded Mr. Collins' amendment and then voted for the Lewis/Abdella slate (that vote failing 2-3). Why on Earth would Mr. Boschetto abandon Mr. Watkins with zero apparent thought and certainly zero discussion?

Quote Originally Posted by Linda Segal
At his last meeting in June, departing FinCom member David Gutschenritter was thanked for his years of service. He offered that the hallmark of a successful committee is the "assumption of positive intent," leading to "successful deliberations and better outcomes." His wisdom and high-road finesse will be sorely missed. – Linda L. Segal, Aqueduct Road

Note: Ms. Segal is a former selectman and 37-year resident, expressing her own personal views.
One other oddity: prior to the votes, Ed Collins said that his first choice was Ms. Lewis and that his second choice would likely be Mr. Abdella, but that his second choice might change depending on the outcome of Ms. Lewis' nomination. Huh?! That can only mean that given Ms. Lewis not being appointed, that Mr. Collins would have abandoned Mr. Abdella in favor of two of Mr. Watkins and the two applicants with no town government experience. I can't imagine why Mr. Abella's appointment would hinge on Ms. Lewis', nor why Mr. Boschetto and Mr. Collins were so apparently willing to waffle their non-Lewis selections.