Phil Thibault Ignores Ethical Conflicts in Dracut

By: Brian Genest – Jan.  24

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

Thibault, the town’s most rejected perennial candidate—a nine-time failure at the ballot box—has found a new way to add to his credentials as Dracut’s most monumental loser: Getting passed over for a variety of appointed positions on town boards.

Phil Thibault keeps getting the same message— “thanks, but no thanks”—but he doesn’t want to hear it, apparently. Just one year after getting rejected by the Board of Selectmen for a seat on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee, Phil Thibault has reapplied for the same position. Here’s the problem, for him: Phil Thibault was rejected by the board majority for conflict of interest because he’s an architect who conducts business in town and would be making the rules for those who hire him to do professional work.

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’s another problem, for him: Nothing has changed since Phil Thibault was denied the position on the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee the last time. The board majority is the same, his business conflict is the same, and so is his inability to count, apparently. Is it any wonder, with his strong political instincts, that he’s choked in eight races for selectman and one for housing authority?

Regardless, 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: When there’s an opening on any town board these days, Phil Thibault rushes his application over to town hall right away. In a town of more than 30,000 people, Phil Thibault always thinks he’s the most qualified person for the job, apparently.

Speaking of choking, in the year between his two applications to keep a seat warm 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’s inability to secure that school committee appointment was a game changer; he finally lost the support of some who previously wasted a lot of political capital, time, money and effort on a guy who continues to lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and lose and lose. It was bound to happen eventually because Phil Thibault’s not just the likely loser in every contest, he’s the proven loser and proven to be Dracut’s biggest loser.

By the way, Phil Thibault’s lack of ethics and conflict of interest haven’t gone unnoticed by the newspaper. In October of 2020, the Lowell Sun exposed some of Phil Thibault’s completely unethical and self-serving behavior at Dracut Access Television.

“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.”

Phil Thibault is always good for one thing: a belly-jiggling laugh. Phil Thibault’s latest committee application is no exception. On a serious note, if I were a betting man, and Phil Thibault is in the running, I’d put my money on the other guy.

— Brian Genest is the producer and host of Eye On Dracut, winner of the Hometown Media Award for News, sponsored by Lucky Oil. Watch on DATV Channel 8 or online at ◊