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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Record-Journal

Unethical behavior

Editor:

In the Town Times published May 15, John Szewczyk accused me of using innuendo and being disingenuous. This attack surprised and disappointed me. I have made every effort to utilize facts and reputable sources in my comments. Here is what I have said, and sources for all of my information:

At a Board of Selectmen meeting on April 16, John Szewczyk cast the deciding vote in favor of his own bid on 11 acres of Durham land, at a price of $6,250 ($538 per acre). (Source: Board of Selectmen Zoom recording, 4/16)

As I stated during the Board of Selectmen’s April 27 meeting, I support John Szewczyk’s right to make a bid on town property. I support that he, and indeed any citizen of Durham, elected or otherwise, has a right to purchase town property. 

However, in voting to accept his own bid, I believe Selectman Szewczyk violated the Town of Durham Code of Ethics (Source: Section III, Conflict of Interest; available through the Town of Durham website), which states that a public official shall refrain from voting on any matter in which he has a personal interest.  

I also stated during the Board of Selectmen’s April 27 meeting that John Szewczyk should have recused himself from voting on his own bid for town property, in order to ensure that his personal interest did not impede his obligation to serve the people of Durham. (Sources: 4/27 Board of Selectmen minutes; 5/1 Record-Journal article; my comments are quoted accurately.)

This is about holding our elected officials accountable, regardless of political affiliation. Instead of recusing himself, Selectman John Szewczyk cast the deciding vote to accept his own bid for 11 acres of Durham town property.

That was unethical behavior by a public official, and it was wrong.

Kristina Talbert-Slagle


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