The Bellwether Tolls


By: Philippe Thibault ~ Feb, 2024

I now have proof the Town of Dracut never ratified the United States Constitution.

And with the likes of Alison Genest, Joseph DiRocco, and Jennifer Kopcinski, I don’t hold much hope for it in the future. At a Zoning Bylaw Review Committee meeting on January 11th, the Chairman informed members of the public, and in particular myself, that participation in the public meetings would no longer be permitted.

This is government work, and the public cannot interrupt those who will make the rules that the unwashed must follow.

What is even more disturbing than this incident, is the preceding events leading to the expulsion of public input. Chair Alison Genest is a process fanatic. She needs to be since she really has no thought other than power and how to maintain an iron rule. Process is an ignorant man’s politics. She has convinced the Chair of the ZBRC, that committee is not to do the best work they can. They are to do the “will of the Selectmen,” specifically, the Troika listed above.

There is a lot to unpack after the last Zoning Bylaw Review Committee meeting on January 11th. The Selectmen have been trying to ramp up participation by the town citizens for years. Alison Genest has now forced a committee seeking citizen participation to renege on that promise to include the public. The takeaway is that the government is more important than the public voice. “You the people,” the squalid masses, will do what you are told. You will dine on the sausage being made for you without contribution, for those with food allergies, you may need to go hungry.

The Gang of Three have also convinced Town Counsel to provide cover in the form of justification to the prohibition to public input. Providing rationalization rather than legal advice, Counsel went on a diatribe about public meetings getting out of hand and degrading into complete mayhem. Counsel has little faith in the Chair of the ZBRC maintaining order with the public. Counsel’s opinion goes squarely against that of the State Attorney General and the Guidelines for Open Meetings. “Although public participation is entirely within the chair’s discretion, the Attorney General encourages public bodies to allow as much public participation as time permits.” Alison Genest has little regard for the opinion of others: appointed officials, elected officials, or the public.

It is just a matter of time before Alison Genest and her cohorts will try to lay claim on every board and committee within town. Genest has already asserted that her position as someone elected is dominate to all others. The appointed boards are by that logic subordinate to those elected. Genest has taken it upon herself to manipulate all autonomous boards.

This whole incident of restricting public participation by the public during a ZBRC meeting is only the first barrage. Genest could have simply taken her issues to the ZBRC Chair and questioned his decision, but in her mind, he is the hired help and is not entitled to an opinion that differs from hers. How long will it be before the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals must acquiesce? What about the Finance Committee, a committee appointed by the Town Moderator, an elected office.

“None can oppose the will of Sauron.” Alison Genest’s leadership only brings divisiveness and chaos.

The upcoming election will have far reaching ramifications. This year is a single seat. The Selectmen are elected in a rotation series over a three-year period. Two seats for each of two years and a single seat for the last of the three-year cycle.

The lone seat has been held over the past five terms by Joseph DiRocco. He has not only enabled Alison Genest’s style of government, but he has also cultivated it in this farming community. Genest’s government is similar to DiRocco’s own style of intimidation and retribution, she is a faithful apprentice. DiRocco’s last victory had him proclaiming this would be his last term.

He lamented the negative campaigning by the opposition, when it was in fact his own negative political record being brought to light. Dorian Gray’s picture is handsome compared to DiRocco’s and Genest‘s.
An informed citizenry is the best bellwether for a good government.

Understand those who you are voting for. Question the candidates on their ideas and their assertions. The truth does not mind scrutiny, deception cannot abide interrogation. Once the election is completed, stay informed. Continue to ask questions. Dracut Hall is like Tammany Hall, Joe DiRocco and Alison Genest smirking “what are you going to do about it.” ◊