EYE ON DRACUT: Josh Taylor Fails Truth Test in Dracut

By: Brian Genest – 03/24

Dracut voters, beware. Josh Taylor, a bitter and angry second-time candidate for Selectman, is spreading lies about the town’s financial situation—and officials are calling him out.

Here’s some irony that can’t be overlooked and shouldn’t be forgotten at the ballot box: As The Valley Patriot celebrates two decades of vigorously supporting and defending the First Amendment, Josh Taylor has corrupted freedom of speech and emerged as perhaps one of the most dishonest candidates for town office in 20 years.

As you may recall, Josh Taylor was an unsuccessful candidate for the Board of Selectmen in 2022, finishing fourth in a five-way race for two seats on the board. In that race, Josh Taylor finished behind Phil Thibault, the town’s most defeated perennial candidate, a nine-time loser. And Josh Taylor’s lackluster performance was his own fault.
Josh Taylor thought he was going to do things his way, but Dracut voters had other ideas, thankfully.

Josh Taylor announced that he wasn’t going to do the things a successful candidate typically would, like knock on doors, dress up in a suit, do fundraising, and all the other things voters are looking for from a serious candidate. Instead, Josh Taylor bought a street sweeper, painted it snot green, and tried to gimmick his way to electoral success. As a result, voters swept Josh Taylor aside.

After the election, Josh Taylor was serving as a member of the Beaver Brook Farm Ad-Hoc Development Subcommittee and as chairman of the Conservation Commission. He walked out of a public meeting after a disagreement with the town manager over an issue and announced he was quitting both boards on his way out the door.

Is that what Dracut taxpayers can expect from Josh Taylor if he’s elected to the board, someone who will quit and walk away when things get heated, when there’s tough decisions to be made, or when he disagrees with someone over a town issue? Dracut deserves better from appointed and elected officials.

Speaking of which, now Josh Taylor is so desperate to get any attention at all from voters that he accused the town of financial mismanagement during an appearance on The Dracut Connect in early February. In the live broadcast, Josh Taylor told show host George Boag that the town’s projected budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2025 was due to financial mismanagement, an accusation that wasn’t backed up by any facts or figures, of course, because it’s false.

Josh Taylor, who sits in the audience at Selectmen’s meetings whenever he’s running for office, went unnamed but was set straight face-to-face by town officials at their meeting later in February.

During the discussion about projected town finances for the coming year, Chairman Alison Genest had Assistant Town Manager and Finance Director Victor Garofolo bring up a slide showing the cost drivers for the budget deficit.

“When you look at these line items, 60% of them are because of double inflation, plus we’ve got cuts from the state,” she said, pointing out there is a false narrative being spread around town that misspending had led to the budget deficit. “I think the townspeople need to hear tonight that is absolutely false.”

Town Manager Ann Vandal wasn’t pleased, either. “I can guarantee there’s no improprieties going on at town hall with respect to the budget,” she said. “To me, that’s the most disappointing thing I’ve heard since I’ve been employed by this community. It’s just plain wrong and rude.”

Selectman Joe DiRocco suggested perhaps it’s time for the town to take legal action. “Maybe it’s time for litigation against some of these people and maybe that’s the only way this stuff stops,” he said.
Perhaps Josh Taylor will rethink his talking points and his front row seat in the audience.

Anyway, speaking of financial mismanagement and poor judgment, remember Josh Taylor’s street sweeper? He told George Boag that he’s now bought a fleet of 16 vehicles to scale his non-traditional, non-campaign this year. If Josh Taylor is willing to spend his own money in such a frivolous manner, imagine how frivolously he’ll be willing to spend our tax dollars!

In his appearance with George Boag, Josh Taylor also brought up “rumors” about his time as president of the Centralville Sportsmen’s Club and his departure from that position. Back in 2022, Josh Taylor accused me, erroneously, of starting those rumors. The truth is a handful of club members personally told me Josh Taylor was accused of misusing club property, including the organization’s pickup truck, and I asked questions about it on The Dracut Connection.

Instead of addressing those issues himself, Josh Taylor had new club President Adam Sullivan release a pre-election statement saying he was a member in good standing and had never been removed from any club position for improprieties. In other words, Josh Taylor skirted the issue and has still never addressed it head on—and voters should wonder why. Josh Taylor told George Boag last month that he didn’t really want to be president of the club anymore and added that he lost the position to a write-in candidate.

The real story is that Josh Taylor’s plan is to win a seat on the Board of Selectmen, form an alliance with Tony Archinski and Heather Santiago-Hutchings, and enact revenge on the town manager. After all, it was Heather Santiago-Hutchings who coaxed Josh Taylor into the race against her buddy Warren Shaw’s chosen candidate Don Plummer. Perhaps that’s the reason neither she nor Tony Archinski said one word during the discussion about the false narrative being spread by Josh Taylor.

Josh Taylor appears to have nothing positive to offer as far as the issues facing Dracut and moving our town forward. If Dracut voters wanted to elect someone who hates our town and has a beef with the town manager, they’ve already had 9 chances to put Phil Thibault in office and have passed over each opportunity, thankfully. Maybe Josh Taylor will learn that lesson sooner rather than later.

–Brian Genest is the producer and host of Eye On Dracut, winner of the Hometown Media Award for news, sponsored by Lucky Oil. Watch the show on DATV Channel 8 in Dracut or online anytime at DracutTV.org. ◊