Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington has his panties in a bunch over a Valley Patriot story last month detailing the plight of the Tomaselli sisters.
The Tomasellis claim the town covered up a sewer betterment charge that was a 100% grant funded, $18 million project. The beach property they bought had a sewer and had no lien or notice of any pending assessments.
At last month’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Harrington and his bobble-heads on the board not only attacked the Tomasellis, and The Valley Patriot (for daring to tell their story) but they also attacked Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change, a group that had nothing to do with the story.
Needless to say, Harrington and crew are taking this very personal, and not acting very professional in the process.
Yet, as of the minute we went to print this month, officials from the Town of Salisbury have not, (and from what we have been told CAN NOT) produce documents showing the final cost of this sewer project in question is, in fact $80 Million as they claimed verbally in court.
This is important because ratepayers were charged $7.8 Million for the project, which is supposed to be 10% of what town officials say was the cost of sewer project.
As this is an ongoing story, we fully plan on digging deeper, interviewing more members of the community, and as has always been the case, give town officials a chance to produce documents and make their case as well.
We chose to tell the Tomaselli’s story first in this ongoing series because the only story the people of Salisbury have ever heard on this matter is the story told by Neil Harrington, the town of Salisbury and the daily newspaper.
Neil Harrington himself has had his say at public meetings for years. He has told his “side” through the local daily. He even had a chance to have his say at hearings and court proceedings, but at the Appellate Tax Board he sat and remained silent while the DPW director and Town Counsel spoke for him.
Long after he thought he had the local press on board to paint the Tomasellis as crazy, old ladies who are trying to screw the town, along comes the Valley Patriot daring to tell the other side of the story.
You see Mr. Harrington, the entire purpose of the Valley Patriot is to tell the stories nobody else wants to tell. Our mission is to give people in the community a voice when they feel they have been shut out by the rest of the media and are treated unfairly by public officials.
And while I have no dog in this fight, your unprofessional behavior at a public meeting was very alarming of a public servant.
First, you attacked a couple of elderly women who were not there to defend themselves. Then you attacked Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change as if they had anything to do with this, and then you attacked a newspaper that you clearly know nothing about.
In the following months we will be publishing documents and giving a voice to anyone else who wants to have their perspectives known on the matter. We have even transcribed your angry, public diatribe and published it above.
Mr. Harrington, you are always free to send us documents proving the final cost of the Salisbury sewer project was $80 Million, or documents showing when the betterment was filed with the Registry of Deeds, or any other relevant information you think our readers should know about.
I am happy to publish them.
It’s not the same as grandstanding in a public forum with your board bobbling their heads, I know. But it’s a hell of a lot more meaningful for the people of Salisbury to have their questions answered.
Our sources in Salisbury, however, say you cannot produce those documents because they do not exist. If true, Mr. Harrington … that would mean you really don’t have a side to tell.
Otherwise why didn’t you just send us documents in question and prove once and for all that these are just a couple of “crazy” women trying to rip off the town. You had two weeks before your little speech and yet you never did.
Wouldn’t that have been an easier way to put this all to rest? It’s puzzling that you chose not to do that, and continue not to do that today.
It is, and has always been my experience that when public officials go on the attack, start name-calling and grandstand, they usually have an awful lot to hide.
But I’m game Neil, are you ready to put your documents where your mouth is?