By: Brian Genest – March 2022
When does a perennial candidate become a town laughingstock? In Dracut, you don’t have to look any further than Phil Thibault for the answer. All over town, when people hear the eight-time loser is running for office again this year, they laugh and laugh and laugh.
In case you’ve lost track, this is Phil Thibault’s ninth run for office in Dracut. In addition to losing a race for Housing Authority, Phil Thibault has come up short in seven elections for selectman, so far, in 2005, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2021.
The voters keep sending the same message, but Phil Thibault doesn’t want to hear it, apparently. Meanwhile, Phil Thibault continues to align himself with some of the most nasty and negative voices in our town, those who do nothing for Dracut except try to tear it down. As a result, Phil Thibault continues to lose—and not just town elections.
Phil Thibault most recently lost his position as president of the Dracut Access Television (DATV) Board of Directors. “Ousted” is how Selectman Joe DiRocco, who has defeated Phil Thibault in three head-to-head matchups for his seat, described it, when he announced the DATV leadership change at the board’s meeting in late February while discussing the contract between the town and DATV.
Due to the fact that Phil Thibault and his friends passed a confidentiality agreement to place a shroud of secrecy over the happenings at DATV, as a member of the Board of Directors, I’m not able to publicly discuss any DATV matters, including my own votes.
Thanks to the First Amendment, however, I’m able to tell you that Phil Thibault is lazy, mean-spirited, vindictive, and self-serving. Those are some of the nicer things I can say about Phil Thibault, based on the way I’ve seen him conduct himself at DATV.
Here’s what the Lowell Sun said when Phil Thibault lost his selectman’s race in 2020.
“It just might be that in Thibault’s case, familiarity breeds more contempt than content.
Buoyed by the backing of several town influencers – including former selectmen – one would have thought it was his election to lose, which he did.
It could also be payback for the decision by that screening panel he ran not to put interim – now permanent – Town Manager Ann Vandal on the list of finalists for that position.”
Later that year, in October of 2020, the Lowell Sun exposed some of Phil Thibault’s self-serving behavior at DATV.
“Imagine if Phil Thibault had been elected to the Dracut Board of Selectmen.
Even though the Dracut Access Cable Television board of directors, on which Thibault serves, is technically not a government body, Thibault apparently thought there was nothing improper with landing a $10,000 contract to help design DATV’s new studio, as Thibault is an architect.”
The paper added: “With all that’s going on with DATV… one would think directors would go above and beyond to present a clean image.”
Speaking of a clean image, Dracut is in very good shape right now. Thanks to clear direction from selectmen and strong support from the townspeople, the town manager’s stellar leadership is something we should celebrate and continue. This is no time to go backwards with the politics and the politicians of the past.
There are more than a few noteworthy accomplishments worth noting.
The town banked more than $10 million in free cash last year. Roads, sidewalks, culverts, and other infrastructure projects are underway and many more will be checked off the to-do list. Veteran housing is being built for the first time in a long time. Open space, preservation and conservation remain high priorities for the town. There’s a strong focus on economic development. Morale at town hall is high. People in town are optimistic about our future.
Regardless of reality, Phil Thibault appears more angry and bitter than ever—and he keeps giving Dracut voters good reasons to reject him. Last year, Phil Thibault said our town was starting to rot. This year, he’s calling Dracut sleepy. Someone definitely needs a wake-up call, but it’s not the voters of Dracut—it’s Phil Thibault.
Cue the laugh track.
— Brian Genest is the producer and host of Eye on Dracut, a monthly cable news show that airs on DATV Channel 8 and online at dracuttv.org ◊