Breslin Out As Forest Advisory Committee Member

Freedom — October 19, 2006 — Selectman Jim Breslin has been asked to step down as selectman’s representative to the Forest Advisory Committee recently. He has since done so, being replaced by the other two selectmen, Les Babb and Donna Cupka.

The request for his resignation as representative came from the chairman of the Forest Advisory Committee, Pete Schiller, during a non-public session on Oct. 2. According to the minutes and a letter written by Schiller, Breslin had acted inappropriately numerous times during FAC meetings.

After an Aug. 22 FAC meeting, “Breslin approached Katie Gove and started a rather hostile confrontation with her. Jim accused Katie of having her own ‘agenda’ and in a general sense he purported to know exactly what Katie’s views were with respect to the Freedom Town Forest and specifically her views on ATV usage within the [forest].”

The letter continues, “Jim got very close to Katie, in an aggressive sense…I remember thinking that maybe I should physically step in between the two of them; I regret not doing so. Katie was visibly upset…”

Schiller said Breslin also sent Gove an e-mail on Sept. 26 regarding an earlier meeting’s minutes, at a point after which she was no longer the chairman of the FAC. The e-mail, which discussed the quality of the minutes taken at a meeting for which he was not present, suggested the meeting was just a “gaggle fest.”

“Applicants have a right to a fair and timely hearing with no ‘what should we do’s’ and similar indications of organizational clutter,” Breslin wrote. “Could it be that [Lisa Charette and her husband Fred Watson’s] offer to help fell on the deaf ears of two committees so blinded by their hatred of these ‘ATV people’ they have become too functionally crippled to help the land they purport to love? Three months of inaction seems to be outweighed by the nit picking of a non-Freedom complainant so worried about ‘turf’ that the property and the creatures we are sworn to protect, dry up and die, so we can ‘discuss process’ in ad nausium,” the letter continues.

Breslin said he stepped down from the selectman’s representative position at the end of the non-public meeting with Schiller because of procedural questions. When Babb resigned and Breslin took his place, proper procedure was not followed.

Gove Resigns for Health Reasons
[Meanwhile, Katie] Gove said her decision to resign as chairman of the Freedom Conservation Commission had nothing to do with Breslin.

“I am resigning for health reasons, just like I did for the Forest Advisory Committee,” she said Tuesday.

Gove will continue to serve as a general member of the commission, while Greg Bossart serves as the chairman.

The Freedom Conservation Commission is the only board that has the authority to appoint members of the FAC, Babb said. According to the minutes, Breslin said he would like to continue attending the meetings and express his views as a member of the general public.

Cupka said the conservation commission met briefly on Oct. 12 to appoint a new selectman’s representative. At that time, she said, the commission requested either Babb or Cupka.

Cupka said she will be sharing the responsibilities with Babb, because they are both busy with other activities at different times of the year. She said she will cover summer meetings, and Babb will cover winter meetings. She said, however, that she will be attending any meetings that deal with the ATV issues because she has “followed it most. [Babb] hasn’t been to any of the ATV meetings; I have.”

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