Letter: Judging board nominees

The Recorder is disappointed that a “qualified” candidate for the Greenfield Planning Board nominated by the mayor was subjected to a “ideological test” by the Town Council.

What other criteria should the council use: Beauty? Graduate degrees? Whether they were born and schooled in Greenfield?

Ideological litmus tests are exactly what is used in the nomination process from the U.S. Supreme Court on down. When the president nominates a Secretary of Homeland Security, that nominee is grilled on ideological issues — what they believe in.

It is pure hypocrisy for this newspaper to criticize the Town Council for using a litmus test — when that is exactly the same test the mayor uses to put names forward.

Both Mayor Forgey and Mayor Martin nominated people to the Planning and Zoning boards because they fit the ideological profile they wanted on these boards. Unless we change to electing these positions, we will continue to have “litmus test” nominees.

If anything, the Town Council does not ask tough enough questions on the issues facing the Planning Board. These boards make their decisions based on their vision of what Greenfield should be like in the future. The mayor wants a board that is “balanced” with big box advocates. That’s his litmus test. The Town Council has the right to reject that test.

If a candidate does not meet the litmus test of a super majority of the Town Council, they should be rejected. This is the heart of the nomination process, and it is what the mayor uses in selecting nominees in the first place because of their ideas.

If the Town Council had rubber-stamped Mr. Mass despite the fact that they ideologically disagreed with his positions on major development, The Recorder would have been happy.

But if the Town Council’s job is to rubber stamp the mayor’s vision, then we don’t need a council — or a newspaper.



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