Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve - Old Guy Style

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, December 31, 2012.

By Bill Gouveia

            It’s New Year’s Eve.  Pardon me if I don’t get too excited.  I think it might be an age thing.

            As someone firmly ensconced in their mid-50’s, I’m not exactly ready for the title of senior citizen (at least, not chronologically speaking).  But if the way I celebrate the arrival of the New Year is indicative of my current status, then I can’t possibly be far away from being classified as “old”.  I believe I’ve officially passed “sad” and am approaching “pathetic”.

            Truth be told, I’ve never been a big partier.  My teens and early 20’s were hardly a testament to the pleasures of excess in anything but food.  Sure, I had my share of alcoholic beverages in those days – after all, the drinking age was 18 then.  But I was married at 21, a parent at 23, and “celebration” was not exactly a high priority except at birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

            Still, we managed to have some fun.  We would have New Year parties at our home, starting after the kids had gone to bed.  We managed to be festive while still making sure they stayed asleep, but it was difficult to keep our many unmarried friends who did not have children coming back.  It’s funny how your range of active friends is affected when you start having children.

            So we started inviting people who – like us – had young kids.  All that really accomplished was generating a larger crowd of tired people who cared more about keeping the kids asleep than celebrating.  Boy, were they boring.  I was sure it was them, and not us.

            Watching the ball drop in Times Square has been a big deal since I can first remember.  I was hooked the first time my parents let me stay up for the big event.  I’m not sure if Dick Clark was the host that first evening (I can’t believe they are still using his name), but the magic of the lights and the electricity of the crowd guaranteed I would always think of this as the official way to usher in the New Year.

            But as I have gotten older, the emphasis has changed from gearing up to watch the ball drop, to simply trying to stay up to watch the ball drop.  Not only has my intake of alcoholic beverages dramatically decreased, but the beverages themselves have changed.  No more beer – it no longer sits very well in my stomach.        Hard liquor and I have never really gotten along, unless the drink containing it also has a fair amount of fruit juice and an umbrella. 

            So these days I start off with wine, and not exactly the top-of-the-line vino.  I grew up on my grandfather’s homemade stuff, and that forever shaped my taste in this area.  So my beverage of choice tends to come in a jug rather than a bottle and cost less than ten dollars.  At least I’m a relatively cheap date.

            For the last few years we have volunteered to babysit our grandson (did I mention his name is William?) so his parents could go out and enjoy the evening.  That is much more our speed, and truth be told they have been among the best New Year’s Eves of our lives.  We take him out to eat with some of our friends, enjoy a fun dessert, then put him to bed and do our best to stay up.  We often fail miserably on the last part.

            This year he will most likely be spending the night at his own home.  And our granddaughter will be with her family many hours to our south.  This is the way it should be, the natural order of things.
            So we are once again likely left to our own devices, celebrating in the staid and stodgy style that has become our custom over the four decades we have been together.  But at the end of this evening, I get to fall asleep (even if it is a tad early) next to the woman I love and who for some strange and unfathomable reason continues to loves me back.

            There sure as heck are a lot of worse ways to usher in 2013.  Happy New Year, good readers.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Critical Time for the NRA

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Friday, December 28, 2012

By Bill Gouveia

            Wayne LaPierre is the leader of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  He appeared on the popular Sunday morning television show “Meet The Press” last weekend to discuss the NRA’s response to the renewed call for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the horrific Connecticut school shooting. 

            Mr. LaPierre’s response on behalf of one of the nation’s most influential lobbying organizations was both predictable and disappointing.  He had no problem apportioning blame for what most everyone agrees was one of the most tragic events in American history.  He blamed a lack of security in schools, he blamed a lack of morals in the country, he blamed Hollywood, he blamed the video game industry, and he blamed the nation’s mental health system.

            He blamed pretty much everyone – except guns and their availability.  He apportions absolutely no blame there.  Not a bit. 

Far worse, Mr. LaPierre and his organization refuse to even discuss the subject.  They will not contemplate the possibility – however remote in their minds – that tougher gun laws could possibly result in a somewhat safer and less violent America.

            Of course, that’s what Mr. LaPierre gets paid to do.  He is a hired gun (pardon the pun) for the NRA.  His job is to blindly and politically support their narrow view of the 2nd Amendment and help elect officials who will do the same.  He has one solution and one solution only to the problem of violence with guns – more guns.

            The NRA is proposing an armed guard be placed in every school in the United States.  He says it is a common sense solution that is obvious and reasonable.  He says parents want and deserve the security he claims this would provide.

            He may be right.  Personally, I have my doubts.  I’m not sure it will work, I’m not sure it is practical, and I’m not sure it is intelligent.  But in the wake of 26 dead people killed by an assault weapon taken from a private home, I’m willing to discuss it.  I’m willing to consider it.  I’m willing to have it debated on the national stage.

            If only Mr. LaPierre and his devoted followers were equally willing to debate that with which they do not agree.

            The head of the NRA and his organization refuse to agree to debate the possibility of stricter gun control laws.  He dismisses out of hand the possibility it might prevent even one death.  He says the NRA will not participate on the panel to be convened by Vice President Biden.  He refuses to even consider any changes to current gun laws because he claims they will not work and will not help.

            It is outrageous this man, representing millions of honest and responsible gun owners, would go on national television and say such things.  He knows there were armed guards at Columbine.  Yet he pushes the solution of armed security wholeheartedly, while dismissing any attempt at banning the awful weapon that killed 20 innocent schoolchildren. 

            I’m not asking Mr. LaPierre or the NRA to agree to any new gun laws right now.  But I hope they care enough to at least join in the discussion.  They have made a good suggestion, one that deserves honest consideration.  It should be given respect because it stems from what I believe to be a sincere desire to save lives and protect children.

            Now it is time for the NRA to give gun control advocates that same measure of respect.  Mr. LaPierre and his organization should be a vital part of the national discussion on gun safety and availability.  They know and understand better than anyone the power and importance of powerful weapons.  They bring a perspective to the table that is both invaluable and representative of many Americans.

            They do their members and the country a grave disservice by merely retreating into their familiar and thus far invincible political shell.  They need to do more than arrogantly tell us laws which have not even been formulated yet will not work.  They need to talk to us, instead of at us.

            This is a moment of truth for the NRA.  They now must choose to be either a part of the solution, or a part of the problem. 

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My 2012 Local Christmas Poem

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Monday, December 24, 2012.

By Bill Gouveia

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year.  After all, celebrating an evening where you expect a fat guy to drop by is right up my alley.  And like Santa, people pretend to be asleep when I come visiting.

            This is a day and a night for joy, reflection and celebration.  It is also the time I revive what has become something of my own personal Christmas tradition, offering up my stilted version of the famous yuletide poem “The Night Before Christmas”.  I know you’ve all been waiting breathlessly since last year.  Well, maybe not all of you.

            So once again with never-ending apologies to Clement Moore (and my thanks to our local governments and officials), I give you the latest local political version of the greatest of all Christmas poems:

T’was the night before Christmas, and the political scene
Seemed to be quiet, though not quite serene.
In Attleboro, Councilors met and ate Christmas cookies
While rehashing arguments from both Veggies and Bookies.

The taxpayers were settled all snug in their beds,
While nightmares of fiscal cliffs danced in their heads.
Your esteemed local columnist was preparing to rest
And soon would be snoring away with great zest.

Then from the front yard there came a big boom
That rattled the house and shook every room.
I ran out the front door and stifled a yawn,
Amazed at what rested upon my front lawn.

The moonlight was reflecting off the newly fallen snow,
As workers on overtime plowed the white streets below.
When suddenly, plummeting down through the night
Was a sleigh with five people engaged in a fight.

They were arguing and griping, and disciplining their elves.
They were Seekonk selectmen (they never blame themselves).
They were delivering presents for towns nearby,
They were running very late, but they still had to try.

Their gifts to North Attleboro were supposed to be free,
But everything there now comes with a fee.
They left a few presents and a very warm greeting,
And tried reducing the size of Representative Town Meeting.

When they hit Plainville they made it a point
To fly over the site of the proposed gambling joint.
Over Wrentham and Norfolk they continued to soar
As through the still night their complaining did roar.

Norton’s present was a school boss who really might stay,
And finally those search committees can just go away.
The selectmen’s present was nothing to fear -
They’ll  go to New York for UN Day next year.

In Mansfield, Comcast Center gets a new sold-out show
Featuring Dentino and Montgomery just rarin’ to go.
A true gift would be a year with no more tragic losses,
But that requires cooperation between all of the bosses.

An area democrat as state rep was past due,
So they gave Attleboro citizens new Rep. Paul Heroux.
Our other state reps got a gift for their quirk –
They get per diem payments just for going to work.

Sen. Scott Brown was not the voter’s selection,
So his gift is – yes, yet another election.
For Rep. Frank, who chose not to run,
It’s a retirement of torturing Republicans for fun

Their stop in Rehoboth was very, very brief -
Selectmen have stopped handing out as much grief.
Some see that as town government starting to snooze,
They have let Seekonk take over as the town in the news.

They saw me and considered just running me down,
Then settled for glaring, and a serious frown.
In executive session, they then took a vote
To totally ignore anything I ever wrote.

They finished their deliveries (the DPW was last),
And headed home to reminisce of Christmas’s past.
But I heard them exclaim as they rode out of sight,
“There’s Bingo at the Senior Center tonight!”

Merry Christmas, good readers. 

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, town official, husband, parent, grandfather, and terrible poet.  He wishes you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and can be reached at

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today I Stop Being a Coward About Guns

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Monday, December 17, 2012.

By Bill Gouveia

            I have been a coward.  Today, I stop.  Starting now, I will step up and be counted.  I will make my voice heard on the most important issue of our time.

            I want stronger gun control laws.  I want them now.  I want us to start working on them immediately, before any more innocent lives are lost.  No more excuses, no more bowing to political pressure, no more wasting time and costing lives.  This gun craziness must stop.

            I know the guns that killed 20 beautiful children and 6 brave adults last week in Connecticut were obtained legally.  I know the murderer who did this might have gotten guns no matter what the laws say.  I know you can’t stop every nut-job out there who decides to kill with guns or any other weapon.  I know all this.  You don’t have to tell me.

            But I know – and you know – there are too many guns in America.  There are automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the hands of people who should never have them.  And please, spare me your definitions of “automatic” weapons.  Guns that shoot a whole lot of bullets in a short amount of time should not be available for sale to the public.  That is a simple fact that has been ignored too long, because politically-oriented people like me have let it happen.  No more.  It stops now.

            President Obama needs to convene a national discussion on gun control today.  All leaders of congress from both parties should join him.  Every governor in every state should form similar panels.  Mayors, town councils, and selectmen should bring folks together for a discussion on what local laws can be enacted.  And it should be done now, not a day later.

            The NRA should call for national gun control laws that maintain the right of private ownership but restrict the number and firepower allowed.  Second amendment fanatics need to understand and admit that the framers of the Constitution never imagined guns shooting hundreds of rounds in seconds.  More guns equal more violence.  That is an indisputable fact.

            How do I know?  Critics say gun laws today are tougher than they have ever been.  If they haven’t worked so far, why should we believe stronger ones will make any difference?  After all, as we are often told – “If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them”.

            That’s crap.  I know what hasn’t worked - doing absolutely nothing.  Sitting back and letting gun advocates intimidate and bully politicians.  Ignoring statistics clearly indicating a correlation between the number of guns and the level of violence.  Standing by and blaming others.

            I believe the second amendment as written was a good idea in the late 1700’s.  But I think it should be adapted to the present.  The world is a different place.  People are different.  Guns are different.  Bullets are different.  Slavery is dead, and women can vote.  It is time we realized our attitudes on guns need to change too.

            To those who suggest we start arming teachers and principals in an effort to make our children safe, I say you could not be more wrong.  The answer is not more guns.  We’ve tried that.  I find it difficult to believe so many are willing to turn our schools into armed camps rather than accept reasonable and rational limits on gun ownership. 

            You want to partially blame the lack of morals in society today for tragedies like Connecticut?  Ok, that’s fine.  You want to partially blame video games and lack of parental influence?  I’ll buy that.  But you also have to accept the undeniable fact that guns themselves play a major role.

            You can’t legislate away crazy or evil.  Those things have existed since the beginning of time.  All you can do is try to limit the opportunities crazy and evil people have to obtain awful weapons.  And we as a people have not done a good enough job in that regard.  Just because we know stronger laws won’t stop all these incidents is no reason to not try and stop at least some of them.

            Today I stop being a coward.  I support common-sense gun legislation, and I support the politicians who promise to make that happen.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Norton Character and Old Friend is Gone

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on December 14, 2012

By Bill Gouveia
Every town has people in their history who are simply unforgettable. Some are community activists, some are curmudgeons, and others are simply unique characters. My hometown of Norton has had many of each type over its 300 year history.

Paul “Zeb” Rich would properly fit into all three categories, but the one that most reflects his life is being a unique character. He was one of the last of a dying breed, a throw-back to the days when politicians slapped you on the back, knew the name of everyone in your family, and could practically recite the voting list in their sleep. Zeb was a true politician, and I mean that in the good sense of the word.

I’ve known Zeb for about as long as I can remember, and his death last week really hit home. My first memories of him are from when I was just an elementary school kid, and he was the teenager racing the fancy sports car up and down Route 123. We thought he was pretty cool, though probably not as cool as Zeb himself thought he was. From an early age, the one thing Zeb never lacked was self-confidence.

His father was a selectman during the 50’s and 60’s, and Zeb learned a lot about town affairs at his own kitchen table. It was inevitable that he would get involved in local politics. With his keen sense of humor, wide grin and outgoing personality he was a natural. And with his hard-nosed determination, way with words, and ability to remember and file away every enemy who ever crossed him, Zeb was a force to be reckoned with in town and elsewhere.

His first local election was a run for school committee. I was a student at Norton High at the time, and we were holding a mock election. Zeb came to me and wanted to know what the students cared about, how he could appeal to them. It may have only been a pretend election, but he still wanted to win it. He did, and went on to be elected to the committee and serve several terms. He recruited me to write some of his campaign fliers, and a lifelong friendship was begun – though we did occasionally have our differences.

Zeb went on to win a selectman’s seat in the mid 70’s, continuing his family’s tradition. This was in the days when Norton selectmen meetings were true events, even before local cable television. Remembering some of the shirts and ties Zeb wore to those meetings, it is probably a good thing there were no viewers who could watch back then. He was a hard worker, and never more than at election time.

Watching Zeb running for office was a real experience for this future local elected official. First of all, the entire family was involved. Each parent, brother, sister and cousin had a job to do and people to call. At the center of the effort was Zeb, who would stand at the polls all day and in his mind keep track of who had not yet voted.

At 5 pm he would turn to one of his family members and say “I haven’t seen John and his family yet – call them and make sure they get here to vote.” He didn’t have a list, or checkers, or a computer. He just knew, and he was never wrong. He never forgot a face.

Zeb was a huge sports fan and a longtime referee and umpire. He was also a big guy who loved to eat, and paid the price for it when his weight ballooned. Then you would see this huge hulking man jogging, even on the hottest day of the year, with sweat pouring off him like a waterfall. But he kept at it, and his weight slowly was reduced. Unfortunately, his health over the latter stage of his life was not good.

But I will always remember the smiling Zeb, the bearded Zeb, the one who would walk up to you and loudly say “Let me tell ya something” while slipping his arm around you. He was a true Norton Townie, and will forever be a part of the Norton I love.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and lifelong Norton resident. He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weak Explanation on Legislative Expenses

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Monday, December 10, 2012


By Bill Gouveia

The topic of state legislators receiving and filing for “per diem” travel, meal and lodging reimbursements simply for showing up to do the job they were elected to perform is a touchy one. Some folks believe lawmakers are entitled to these expense payments, and others believe it constitutes an abuse of the system.

I believe it can be both, and respect the validity of the arguments on each side of the issue. But I have a hard time swallowing those who want to have their cake (or per diem) and eat it too. A little consistency goes a long way.

Per diems reimbursements are in addition to a legislator’s salary. They are intended to offset expenses for lawmakers who actually show up at the statehouse and who file for them. Many representatives and senators who live far from Boston file for them regularly and generally receive the highest totals. Lawmakers from Pittsfield, Provincetown, Nantucket and Lenox are all in the top ten list of those receiving reimbursements.

But some local area representatives also are not shy about receiving the per diem payments. With the Sun Chronicle area generally less than an hour’s travel to Boston, this raises legitimate questions about whether or not their acceptance of the payments is fair and reasonable to taxpayers.

An example of this is Rep. Steven Howitt (R–Seekonk), who was re-elected to second term last month and represents Rehoboth and parts of Seekonk and Norton. The affable lawmaker took per diem payments two years ago, but had not yet filed for this past year by election time. However, he did say he was planning on doing so in the near future.

But Howitt explains his acceptance of the payments by saying he donates the money to charities. He said in his first year as a state rep he actually donated all the per diem money he received – after taxes – to local food pantries and other charities.

At a debate with his opponent in October, Rep. Howitt did not back away from his acceptance of these payments in any way. In fact, he was proud to have donated the funds to worthy causes. He said that if he had not taken the money, it would have been “swallowed up” at the end of the year and gone who-knows-where. At least this way, he pointed out, the state funds did some good for his local constituents. He adamantly said he planned to accept them again and do the same thing this year.

To which many say – are you kidding me?

While Howitt’s charitable inclinations are certainly praiseworthy, they should be done with his own money and not state-funded reimbursements. It is fine if the good representative wants to donate from his pocket to local charities. But he should not do so from the pockets of those he serves.

If he is not keeping the money he takes for per diem payments, then he should let it remain in the state budget. While not a lot, it would help to offset the expected deficits in state spending. If Howitt wants the funding to go to local charities, he should file a bill to do so. Granted, the odds of it passing would be slim to none. But so are the odds of most people accepting this weak and silly explanation.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Shopping for the Grandkids

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Friday, December 7, 2012

By Bill Gouveia

It’s Christmas time, and the pressure is on. For this proud grandfather, that means searching for the perfect gifts for my two perfect grandchildren. But that is not as easy as it might seem.

My beautiful granddaughter Avery is not quite nine months old, so shopping for her first Christmas will be relatively simple and a lot of fun. When kids are under the age of two, you can pretty much give them some loose wrapping paper and they will be thrilled. But I intend to continue the spoiling of my little princess this Yuletide season. There appears to be no end to the many wonderful and annoying toys I can buy her, that her exasperated parents will have to truck back to Baltimore. I can’t wait.

Now my grandson Will (did I mention his name is William?) is a different story. At the ripe old age of 4-1/2, he is getting a bit more discriminating – and expensive. Since he has the vocabulary of a college journalism major, he has no difficulty expressing exactly what it is he would like Santa to bring. The problem is I generally have no clue what he is talking about. I am out of touch when it comes to what kids his age like these days.

I recognize the names of some of the popular toys on his list for Santa, but those are the ones his parents are already getting. That leaves me listening to Will’s description of toys I have never seen and don’t understand, or being presented with the “wish list’ of stuff he figures he has a better chance of getting from Grandma and Grandpa than Santa.

Last year we asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and thought he asked for an iPad. Turns out what he was really saying was he wanted an “eye-patch” like a pirate. We were happy to comply with that wish. This year, there is no misunderstanding his words. He now wants the real thing. And truth be told, he knows how to operate my iPad better than I do. His mother’s iPhone might as well be his, because he uses it as much as she does.

I have already bought him lots of sports equipment, including a baseball glove and bat. Right now he’d rather watch a Disney movie than a football game, and we’ve given him plenty of those too. He loves playing video games, though soon he may start to realize he’s really not winning all those Mario Kart races. Dinosaurs and dragons have been popular up to now, and I’ve loaded him up with action figures and Ninja Turtles.

Grandma does most of the Christmas shopping in our household, leaving me to concentrate on the fun items for the grandchildren. She buys clothes and the other boring but necessary stuff, while I lay claim to the more glamorous side of present-shopping. Of course, she will buy a considerable number of toys for our two grandkids also. But she graciously allows me to go out on my own and try to feel good about myself, though she holds her breath the whole time just trying to imagine what I might bring back.

I am already worrying about future years, now that I have a granddaughter. With two sons and a grandson preceding her royal arrival, I have little to no experience shopping for a young lady. Grandma has already bought enough dresses and those hair/headband things to outfit her for quite a while. I’m perfectly willing to get her the stereotypical dolls and stuff (insert Neanderthal/chauvinist comment here), but she has and will continue to get plenty of Patriots/Red Sox/Celtics/Bruins apparel and souvenirs from both of us.

Of course, more important than what we buy is the fact we have these amazing grandchildren. Avery has recently started to crawl, and Will is correcting my grammar. They are growing up before our eyes, and being a part of it is one of the great experiences of our lives. This holiday will be extra special.

But I’m still determined to go out and find some very special gifts for these very special little folks. If you have any ideas, you know how to reach me.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seekonk Needs To Stop Cheap Shots

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Monday, December 3, 2012

Some think the national pastime in America is baseball, while others believe football is king. This no doubt varies from state to state, and town to town.

But in Seekonk, the popular sport these days is humiliating and attacking people at the weekly board of selectmen meetings. It has become a regular and disturbing practice, one which should concern the community as a whole and all who live within it.

The most recent display of this form of political grandstanding occurred when selectmen and Town Administrator Pam Nolan severely and publicly reprimanded Human Services Director Bernadette Huck for obtaining a Bingo license from the state Lottery Commission for the town’s senior center without first notifying them. Since the license was obtained, one bingo event was held. It was allegedly attended by three people, who may have spent as much as $1.25 each playing the popular game. It wasn’t exactly Foxwoods.

Huck was called on the carpet to explain her actions in failing to seek approval or permission to obtain the no-fee license, which she received on-line. She apologized for her apparent breach of protocol. But that was not enough for either Nolan or some selectmen, who proceeded to pretty much publicly flog the town official for what appeared to be – at worst – a minor indiscretion.

Selectman Bob McLintock tore into Huck, telling her she “should not have done what you did as it relates to your own board, this board and also the town administrator.” Chairman Francis Cavaco read from a transcript of a July Human Services Commission meeting where it was said Huck should talk to TA Nolan about the issue. He also chastised her for failing to open a separate checking account which he claimed was required by state Bingo laws.

Nolan criticized her employee on several levels. She questioned holding the Bingo at the Seekonk Senior Center building, which she described as “questionable” and “not up to code”. She also told Huck, “This was a new program we had no knowledge of whatsoever. I am your boss.”

And right there is the real issue. Being a boss is about making sure things are done correctly and professionally – not making a big deal of them after they are done and the situation has been addressed. You don’t make yourself look bigger by making the people who work for you look smaller. That signifies a serious lack of real leadership.

While Huck’s actions may well have been incorrect and deserving of criticism, it hardly seems they required being aired at a public meeting. Most good administrators would have addressed the matter with the employee in private and – in no uncertain terms – made clear that it must not happen again. If it was serious enough to warrant disciplinary action, then that process could have been begun.

Some selectmen seem intent on inserting themselves into the day-to-day operation of the town at nearly every level. Their micromanaging has resulted in a slowing down of town government in Seekonk, and in creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust amongst town officials and employees. Some board members seem more intent on making sure everyone knows they are in charge than actually and effectively being in charge.

No one is suggesting anything be hidden or kept from the public. This was not executive session material. It needed no secret or closed meetings with selectmen. It simply required the self-recognized “boss’ to handle the situation in a professional manner. That clearly did not happen.

And if the current Senior Center is indeed “not up to code”, shouldn’t it be secured so no one can go inside? Wouldn’t the selectmen and the town administrator be responsible for making sure that happens?

The Board of Selectmen in Seekonk sets the tone for town government. If the town’s highest board is reactionary, rude and impatient – then the town’s government will be also. They need to make sure they conduct themselves in a responsible and professional manner, and show the proper respect for town officials, town employees, and others.

This is not the first time the selectmen’s weekly meeting has been used as a means of intimidating or punishing an employee or official. But it certainly should be the last.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.