Departing acting Board of Finance chair Michael O. Peterson surprised everyone with his farewell speech at last week’s Board of Finance meeting. Here’s what he said once he departed from the usual thanks and goodbye:
"I have also seen this community suffer from a lack of political leadership. No longer do leaders put aside their differences to solve problems or unite to help the community grow. While we can all have differing opinions, we expect elected officials to put aside petty partisan differences to make our community a better place. Indeed, over the past few years, I have witnessed a litany of degrading comments, mean-spirited personal attacks by a group of people often filled with inaccurate and false facts. We have seen people who claimed to be trusted do some allegedly bad acts, which have confused and angered us all.
"We’re living in Orwellian times, where we have a governmental bureau which can spend millions of dollars to secretly investigate people based on anonymous written letters or verbal accusations. We have people who claim to be ethicists, who in writing and verbally label people liars or insinuate dishonest behavior if you dare disagree or do not follow their prescribed procedure. These could be pages out of our history books, but sadly they are not. They are happening right here today.
"North Haven stands at a crossroad. Do we move forward together to create a better community for future generations, or do we succumb to petty partisan bickering and allow these opportunities to fall by the wayside? The choice rests with each one of us."
What I found most appalling about this speech was Peterson’s attack on the Public Integrity Bureau of the Chief State’s Attorney’s office (the "governmental bureau" in the second paragraph). Does he believe that accusations of the misappropriation of public funds should be ignored by our law enforcement bodies? Should our police officers ignore the tips they get? Should they demand to have everything in writing and notarized?
It’s interesting that, according to Peterson, what the Ierardis were accused of is only “alleged,” but what he accuses me of doing ("people who claim to be ethicists" in the second sentence of the second paragraph) does not get any presumption of innocence.
He doesn’t seem to recognize that he is as much a government official as members of the Public Integrity Bureau. But he is more irresponsible, because he doesn’t even bother investigating, much less doing it secretly, before making public accusations against citizens of his town.
He considers the Public Integrity Bureau an Orwellian Big Brother, but what is he? How are his unfounded personal attacks superior to the Public Integrity Bureau’s warrant of arrest after a long investigation? Where is his documentation, whom did he interview?
Search for “lie” in this blog (the word “liar” does not appear) and you will find that I only use the term with respect to a budget full of lies, and with respect to one individual: Michael O. Peterson. Fancy that.
I do not call him a liar, but point out two very specific public lies he told. Nothing about disagreement or any “prescribed procedure.”
What is he talking about? Nothing. He’s just doing what he accuses others of: being petty and partisan and personal. And a poor leader.