EYE ON DRACUT: Monumental Loser Phil Thibault Unaffected in Dracut

By: Brian Genest – 6-24

How can Dracut miss Phil Thibault if he won’t go away?

The town’s most rejected perennial candidate—a nine-time failure at the ballot box—Phil Thibault has a new hobby: Applying for appointments on town boards and reapplying when he’s rejected.
When there’s an opening on any board these days, Phil Thibault rushes his application over to town hall right away. In a town of 34,000 people, Phil Thibault always thinks he’s the most qualified person for the job. That’s because Phil Thibault thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, no matter who’s in the room.

Just ask him.

And Phil Thibault always wants to be in the room, apparently. He’s been lurking around town government for decades, keeping the seats warm on a bunch of town boards. If you’ve gotten Phil Thibault’s self-centered political mailings throughout the years, you’ve seen the extensive list, but not a single accomplishment or new idea to benefit Dracut. Like George Costanza, Phil Thibault can’t wait to tell anyone who will listen that he’s an architect. You’d be hard pressed to meet a more self-absorbed politician. The thing Phil Thibault likes to talk about the most is himself.

Now, for the third time, Phil Thibault has applied to be on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee, a position he was first rejected for more than a year ago by the Board of Selectmen. At the time, the board majority cited conflict of interest, saying Phil Thibault is an architect who conducts business in town and would be making the rules for those who hire him to do professional work.

Phil Thibault’s buddies on the board, of course, thought letting him serve, despite an obvious conflict, was a great idea. Selectman Tony Archinski said failing to appoint Thibault would be “despicable.” Selectman Santiago-Hutchings was “disappointed” that Thibault wouldn’t be able to make the rules for those in town who hire him and fund his business.

Instead of reflecting inward when he was rejected, Phil Thibault lashed out. As inconvenient as it may be for him, the truth is that, in 2016, Phil Thibault resigned from the Planning Board after speaking with the state’s Ethics Commission and then went on his buddy Warren Shaw’s AM radio program to talk about it. Shaw’s sidekick Shawn Ashe posted the audio recording on his Dracut Forum blog, so you can hear it for yourself in Phil Thibault’s own words: HERE

In January, Phil Thibault applied to be on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee for a second time. Before his appointment came to a vote, Phil Thibault withdrew his application.

But it was more than just his usual shenanigans. In his letter of withdrawal, Phil Thibault included some special shenanigans. Phil Thibault wants special treatment, so he can serve on the committee despite his conflict of interest. In fact, Phil Thibault thinks he’s so special that he asked the Board of Selectmen to take special action and make the members of the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee special town employees. Isn’t that special?

Speaking of special treatment, for months Phil Thibault was chiming in with his two cents at Zoning Bylaw Review Committee meetings, despite being rejected for a seat on that committee. Town Counsel finally reigned in Chairman Scott Mallory, letting him know Phil Thibault’s participation was not appropriate. What is appropriate is treating all taxpayers and citizens equally, giving them all equal say, not giving Phil Thibault a special say or special treatment, no matter how special he thinks he is.

Here’s something special: Phil Thibault’s electoral history. In addition to losing a race for Housing Authority, Phil Thibault has choked in eight elections for selectman, so far, in 2005, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He’s lost as many electoral contests as Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke combined, plus two more. Phil Thibault’s not just the likely loser in every contest, he’s the proven loser and proven to be Dracut’s biggest loser. In his own mind, perhaps, that makes Phil Thibault a political guru and fully qualified to serve on every board in town.

Speaking of choking, in the time since his first application to sit on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee, Phil Thibault has been rejected for other board appointments, including a couple of seats he applied for on the Economic Development Committee. Phil Thibault has another notable political distinction, too: The shortest candidacy for Dracut School Committee in town history.

When Joe Wilkie resigned last summer, Phil Thibault announced he was in the race and then a nanosecond later he was out. In between, Phil Thibault apparently realized he was unable to muster five votes from the Board of Selectmen and School Committee. (Members of those two boards ended up unanimously appointing Rob Sheppard, a guy who actually ran for school committee.)

Phil Thibault is always good for one thing: a laugh. Phil Thibault’s latest committee application to serve as the fourth alternate on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee is no exception. Spoiler alert: Don’t be surprised if monumental loser Phil Thibault’s next move is to apply for town dog catcher, village idiot, or both.

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— Brian Genest is the producer and host of Eye On Dracut, winner of the Hometown Media Award for News, sponsored by Lucky Oil. ◊