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When my husband Sal lost the Waitsfield Select Board election to Chris Pierson and extended his perfunctory, post election, congratulatory phone call to Mr. Pierson I knew two things: First, that Pierson has mammoth responsibilities ahead of him as a board member and, second, that his seemingly constant state of agitation wasn’t going to be particularly useful in his new role. Then his recent letter in the March 28 edition of The Valley Reporter confirmed that his angry nature persists! If there is “bad form” afoot, it is reflected in this sarcastic letter and on so many different levels.
Pierson searched the phone book, tax records, voter registration and townsfolk to uncover the identity of H. Motes, the author of the letter that set him off. I trust he didn’t use paid town staff to assist him with his frenzied records search.
This bizarre rampage is disturbing. What was his goal? To have a rational discussion with the letter’s author upon successfully completing an irrational search? And how exactly does such behavior facilitate communication? If anything it strongly suggests that Pierson will make you personally responsible for your exercise of protected speech if that speech offends him. The consequence of that prospect is not to inspire individual interaction and involvement but rather to suppress it.
His use of the phrase “scaredy-cat hiding behind a pen name” is embarrassing. It is difficult to square the adult responsibilities of a selectman with his childish language, coupled with his quest for personalized confrontation.
Further, his letter calls out H. Motes, the purported author of a letter critical of Pierson and others, and whose true identity he doubts. I don’t know H. Motes either. However, I didn’t place a call to friends at the Federal Bureau of Investigations to track him/her down nor would I have done so if the letter was aimed at me.
In the end, Pierson’s skewed fascination with the messenger rather than the message provides all of us a glimpse of the measure of our newest public official after a mere one week in office. For all our sakes he had better develop the balance, judgment and thicker skin needed to meet his official responsibilities. Until that happens anyone who speaks out might expect to get a knock at their front door only to find Chris Pierson standing there demanding answers.
P.S. No need to search. I’m in the book. D.S.