Being on a public board is rewarding but difficult
Apr 17, 2014 | 2519 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor,

Sometimes when things are repeated enough times they seem true even when they are not. This happened in last week’s article about the Wilmington Development Review Board. The truth is that no meetings this winter were canceled due to lack of a quorum. In late January, with no immediate applications, the DRB decided to cancel the second meeting of the month as both the chair and vice chair were going to be away and the remaining three members did not want to have a hearing. Although it is not unusual for other town boards and committees to rearrange their schedules when some members are out of town this was the first time the DRB has ever done that. The DRB did express concerns to the selectboard about having a quorum for its first meeting in April. This was due to the fact that the selectboard was not going to decide about Andy Schindel’s appointment until five days before the DRB’s meeting date. Once a new member was appointed in mid-March this was not an issue. Sherry Brissette and I have asked that our resignations become effective after that case is decided so that the applicant’s request will be considered. It is true that the DRB has needed more members but this is not unique to the DRB – it’s happening all across the country. It is not true that retention of members is a big issue. I looked through town reports from 2000 through 2013. If members who resigned because they moved out of town are not counted there are only three members who’ve served less than three years – in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Most members serve four years or more.

My letter of resignation explains some of my feelings regarding this very unfortunate period in our town government. I hope that the boards will do their best to increase their communication and respect for the work that volunteers do. I also hope that we all do a better job checking the facts and the numbers before making assumptions upon which important decisions are based. This is my letter of resignation:

“To the Wilmington Selectboard:



Knowledge and the willingness to continue to learn;

Respect for others on the board and for those who appear before them;

Attention to detail, due process and the legal ramifications for the Town;

The ability to balance reasonableness and the law;

And, willingness to give countless hours.

These are some of the qualities of a good development review board, all of which I believe the Wilmington DRB has had in abundance.

Apparently, these are not qualities that the selectboard values – although I am hard-pressed to know why.

It is with deep sadness and frustration that I resign from the DRB, a position I have held for 22 years.

It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve with many other dedicated people and I thank them for their hard work and service. Being on a public board is often a rewarding but difficult task.

It has always been a challenge but one I have been glad to do. I am sorry to leave.”

Nicki Steel

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