June 13, 2024

By Email

Dear Sen. Barrett and Rep. Gordon,

Last week I sent you a report detailing how the new BFD headquarters project is the result of apparently corrupt practices. It is unlikely that voters would have voted to fund it on Tuesday if the slanted information Bedford’s 10,000 voters have been fed for more than two years had been balanced by adherence to the Open Meeting Law.

Even so, the report that was delivered to your offices last Friday stands on its own. How the citizens of Bedford choose to go forward is separate from whether an independent investigation into possible fraud and abuse of power is called for.

I don’t think you could have read the analysis and then, as lawmakers and lawyers, been so dismissive in reply. Nor would you have displayed contempt for a position you must know many of your constituents share. In saying that you trust the voters of Bedford to elect town leaders who reflect their priorities I doubt you meant to imply that you think it would be alright with voters if those leaders were to behave unethically – or manipulate issues that come before Town Meeting. Especially when citizens’ votes will indebt the town for decades to come.

My website Save Our Block was started as a repository of information that was and is often missing from political channels – and I will continue to build the public record there no matter what. I have long experience here in New York with how a few officials can defeat a supposedly democratic process. I have seen how easy it is to get away with it by betting that people do not have the time or inclination to challenge abuses of power. And I have seen how getting everything on the record that belongs in the record can make a big difference – often slowly, but surely.

If the facts I cited in the analysis are accurate, where I live is obviously irrelevant. I doubt you would say that the charges, if true, do not matter. If the selection process was a deliberate deception by a rogue Town Manager to manipulate Bedford’s residents and Sarah Stanton subverted the rationale behind the Massachusetts Open Meeting and Procurement Laws, then allowing that to be swept out of sight would be one more grave offense.

I have tried my best to raise awareness that Bedford’s lovely gateway block does not have to be spoiled with a massive industrial building that can still be built on a better site. But what has mattered most to me is exposing the despicable abuse of power that pushed Bedford’s citizens into a corner. And without a doubt, being out of town allows me to keep my eyes on the ball without being harangued the way that Bill Moonan, Carol Amick, and many others were for trying to keep the townspeople from making a horrible mistake.

Efforts to make this issue partisan and personal have hurt Bedford. I love my hometown as much as anybody could. My mother Connie Donovan put her heart and soul into helping to establish the Historic District and was devoted to the town’s betterment for sixty-five years of her life. My stepfather John Dodge was not only the Town Historian but a local treasure. They both trusted and believed in Town government. My family continues to live and thrive there. Someday, my partner Richard and I will be buried there.

People have a right to know what broke down, how did this ever happen, and how did it get so far?
It is certainly in the best interests of the many hardworking volunteers on Town Committees who were fooled along with so many others to be free of any question of complicity. On the other hand, if everything was above board, an OIG investigation would absolve the Town of wrongdoing and the project would be free of any taint before the bonds to fund it go on the market.

Citizens rely on their public servants to pursue the truth on their behalf. I am still hoping you will see how necessary it is to get an official reckoning of this matter now and that you are the most obvious and suitable ones to request it. Please let me know by noon tomorrow (or sooner) if you will use your offices to advance this inquiry or decline to do so. I am not asking you to pass judgment on anything but the right of the public to know whether or not Town officials worked for or against the public interest. It will be up to the Inspector General to do the rest.


Margaret Donovan | SaveOurBlock.org 

cc:  Matthew J. Hanson, Bedford Town Manager
       Wayne Braverman, The Bedford Citizen