February 26, 2020
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Feeling Some Strain

Published May 29, 2019

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It appears that Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald is feeling some strain. That might explain his curious behavior at the last Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) meeting at which, as I understand it from the person involved, he responded to a town resident’s comments with a four-letter expletive and a raised middle finger.

A major topic of the meeting was the first selectman’s plan to head a committee to select a new zoning enforcement officer. A number of commissioners present at the meeting expressed surprise and concern at the plan, apparently having never been consulted about the process or their views on what qualifications the next person filling this position should hold. Their concern seems well founded as town zoning regulations state the position is appointed by the commission.

I, too, am concerned. Given his recent successful campaign to seat a town employee who reports directly to him to a full position on the PZC and his financial stake in business before the commission, I’m wary of his involvement in this process. His proposal to install a commercial parking lot on the residential property at 138 River Street is in limbo while a number of zoning complaints issued against his wedding banquet facility remain unresolved. I believe his involvement in the selection of the person who has authority to make decisions on those issues is ethically compromised.

No wonder he’s feeling some strain. The first selectman either works for the Town of Deep River or works for himself. If the former, he should step aside from this process and allow the PZC to do its work. If it’s the latter, then he may be doing what best serves his own financial interests but not the people of Deep River. That is not why he was elected.

Brett Thompson
Deep River