By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – The end of Monday’s city council meeting gave proof that newly seated Councilman Bill Towle doesn’t forget as he called out individual council members.
“At the Nov. 2 council meeting, one day before the election, several comments were made by various council members that I wasn’t allowed to respond too,” Towle said.
“Elmer (Trombley), in the past you have claimed to be a bold person. Well I am going give you the opportunity to show the residents just how bold you are. At the previous council meeting you said, and I am quoting, ‘I want the residents to know that Mr. Towle was charged and convicted of violating state election laws for falsification of nominating petitions.’
“If you can support that comment I will resign from office but if you can’t support that comment, will you resign? In short, Elmer, be bold.”
Towle further confronted Trombley about filing a complaint against him alleging he forged signatures, prompted by former Mayor Tim Durand, causing the police chief to investigate – reportedly questioning more than 60 people. Towle said they didn’t find anyone not supporting his candidacy, but did find a few signatures that Towle didn’t witness.
Towle then focused on Councilman James Trombley, referring to his involvement with past litigation from 2003 to 2008.
“Bill, I’ll allow you to talk, but let’s not go back,” James Trombley said. “Let’s move forward with the city.”
Towle said he was moving forward, but said there were things he wanted to clear up.
Towle then addressed Councilwoman Lynn Blanchette, regarding written off debts and how her figures varied from Towle’s figures. When he presented the council, as a resident, more than a $2 million figure that was written off, she said it was less than $1 million. Towle said he got his information from Finance Director Douglas Drysdale via a Freedom of Information Act request. While Blanchette’s came from personal calculations.
“Lynn, you said, and I am quoting, ‘We are the most transparent city in the area. We are like the cellophane of transparency,’” Towle said.
“That being said, I am sure you will support televising the year-end financial statements, budget reviews, and study sessions if you are true to your word,” Towle added. “That is done in other communities.”
Towle also addressed competitive pricing, asking why the council is reluctant to get competitive quotes for services.
“You will never know how reasonable pricing is unless you get competitive quotes,” Towle said.
Councilman Dean Workman was next for Towle. He asked Workman why he prohibited then-mayoral candidate Andy Swift from answering one of Towle’s questions to the council, as a resident, saying it was politically loaded. Yet, Towle alleged Workman remained silent when fellow council members took turns making negative, untrue comments about Towle and his family members the day before the election.
“That is perfect example of a hypocrite,” Towle said.
Lastly, Towle addressed Durand, saying he was certain the former mayor was watching the meeting.
“(Durand) said I didn’t have the city’s best interest at heart,” Towle said. “That coming from an individual that turned a pension surplus into a deficit, added millions to unfunded health care liability, and violated the open meeting act to keep items like the Dyna Grind (Services, LLC) law judgment out of the public view. A comment like that sets a low bar for integrity, even for (Durand).”
Towle ended with a “thank you” which was met by a sounding applause that was quickly quieted by Mayor Swift’s gavel.
“Please, we can’t have a response like that,” Swift said, tapping his gavel. “Please.”
James Trombley wanted to be heard.
“Well, Bill, I like guys like you that want to blindside me,” he said. “I don’t have the information in front of me that I used a couple of meetings ago.”
He also questioned Towle about why Dyna Grind, an eight-year-old issue, was resurfacing.
“I personally think we should move ahead,” said Workman clearly unhappy by Towle’s remarks. “If this behavior is going to continue, we’re going to have some long nights.”
Last to rebut Towle’s claims was Elmer Trombley.
“I stated the facts and I’m not ashamed of the facts I stated, period,” he said.
Afterward, Swift quickly asked for a motion to close the meeting.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at email@example.com.)