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Stockbridge voters should support Chuck Cardillo for selectman

In his letter to the editor, Robert H. Jones Jr. writes: "Chuck Cardillo was chosen the last time around by a majority of the voters. He was deprived of his ability to serve by having to choose between that service and his livelihood."

To the Editor:

I am writing to you in regard to the upcoming “Special Election” to be held this month in Stockbridge. The election came about as a result of a series of events that led to considerable controversy within the Town. These events have caused heated debate and consternation amongst the voters, leading to a trip to the polls for us… again.

Last spring, two capable candidates, Deb McMenamy (a sitting selectman), and Fire Chief Chuck Cardillo vied for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. When the vote was in, Chuck was the victor. Most of us presumed that all was well, democracy had prevailed, and that life would go on as usual in the little town of Stockbridge. We were wrong.

The two sitting Selectmen, Stephen Shatz and Chuck Gillette, decided (after the returns were in) to ask Town Counsel for an opinion re: Mr. Cardillo’s status as Fire Chief, and his ability to hold that post as well as serve as Selectman. Why they would do so, after the fact, is still unclear to me. Town Counsel (doing his job, as he was instructed) asked the State Ethics Commission for an opinion. It was their opinion that Mr. Cardillo could hold one or the other post, but not both.

I (and many others) have read the rules and regs set forth by the Ethics Commission. They are confusing and contradictory. I can’t figure out how anyone could come up with a “ruling” based upon what’s written, and I’m further confounded as there are any number of similar situations in other towns throughout the Commonwealth, where an employee of a municipality also serves on a Town board. But their ruling stands. So, in the end, the duly elected Mr. Cardillo has to run for a post to which he has already been elected. I wonder what Norman Rockwell’s opinion would be on this one.

To further muddy the waters, Mr. Cardillo now has a new opponent in his quest for the Selectmen’s seat. Gary Johnston, long-time moderator for the Town is running as well. Gary is a bright, capable guy, longtime resident with a history of service to the Town. In any other election, I might very well vote for him. Not this time.

Chuck Cardillo was chosen the last time around by a majority of the voters. I was a McMenamy fan, but Chuck won, hands down. He was deprived of his ability to serve by having to choose between that service and his livelihood. I think most of us would have made the same choice. But I want to make certain he has the opportunity to do the job he set out to do.

Chuck also has a history of great service to the Town. He is well known, has done an excellent job as Fire Chief, and I expect he will do the same as Selectman. I encourage all my friends and neighbors to come out for the “Special Election” to elect Chuck Cardillo.

He deserves it… We deserve it.

Robert H. Jones Jr.

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

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