Letter: Meeting fairly run

To the Editors:

I would like to respond to Mr. Hickey’s letter regarding Miller-Driscoll town meeting moderator, Mr. Hudspeth.

Mr. Hickey says with respect to Mr. Hudspeth’s role as moderator of the Miller-Driscoll town meeting that “we can add another potential violation of ethics and personal not public interest to the mix.”

Perhaps Mr. Hickey wasn’t there at the town meeting since, if he had been, he would, in fairness, have noted in his letter that Mr. Hudspeth was voted in as moderator at the start of the meeting by all eligible voters present. The chair of the meeting invited other nominations, but none was made, and Mr. Hudspeth was voted in without opposition. Since Mr. Hickey appears to be an avid reader of Mr. Hudspeth’s column, he surely would have known that a week before the meeting his “View from Glen Hill” column spoke strongly in favor of the Miller-Driscoll project under the unequivocal headline “A ‘yes’ vote is the way to go.” If someone had thought a strong expression of viewpoint was a disqualification for Mr. Hudspeth as moderator, he/she should have said so at the time of his nomination. People certainly were not quiet at that meeting in other respects. I daresay everyone at that meeting had views, and probably strong ones, on the subject of the sole issue under consideration: the Miller-Driscoll project. Thus, there was almost no chance that a completely impartial voice would have been found anyway.

It is also unlikely Mr. Hickey could have been at the meeting, or he wouldn’t be criticizing Mr. Hudspeth’s actual moderation of it. The fact is Mr. Hudspeth enforced on all speakers the rule announced at the start of the meeting (and the same rule that has applied to all town meetings): three minutes a person maximum to allow others time to speak, with those who were not able to conclude their remarks in three minutes the opportunity to return to the mike only after everyone else who wanted to speak had had a chance to be heard — and provided, as happened, that a successful closure vote had not occurred before then. If anyone has doubt, he/she should see the video of the meeting.

Mr.  Hudspeth was scrupulous in observing the time limits for all speakers, and as he pointed out at the start of the meeting, he had our town’s controller keeping track of the time for each speaker. It’s hard to imagine a more ethically or fairly run meeting, but if Mr. Hickey thinks a different moderator should moderate future town meetings, he should feel free to do what any of us could have done that night: offer his own nomination for moderator and let those present decide by their vote who should actually moderate.

Gail Moskow