EDITORIAL: A concilor resigns in Cheshire, citing ‘continued harassment’

EDITORIAL: A concilor resigns in Cheshire, citing ‘continued harassment’

An editorial from the Cheshire Herald:

Paul Bowman had enough and wasn’t going to take it any longer.

The Republican At-Large Councilor, who has served two separate stints on the Council over the decades, stepped away from his seat on Tuesday evening, citing “continued harassment” as the reason. In speaking to The Herald on Wednesday morning, Bowman made it clear that he was tired of himself and his family being subjected to what he perceives to be slanderous accusations levied by certain members of the public and wanted the opportunity to better defend himself.

No longer a public official, Bowman feels he’ll be in a better position to do just that.

Criticism comes with the territory for those who volunteer for public service, whether it be as a U.S. Senator or a Town Councilor, and Bowman, a veteran of such political realities, is aware of this. However, criticism should never venture into the realm of harassment, and political disagreements, no matter how heated, should remain civil.

When it becomes personal, and people feel free to say and do whatever they’d like simply because they disagree with how someone has handled a particular issue, it sends a terrible message to those who may want to volunteer their time and efforts to the cause of representing local government.

Harassment is unacceptable, full stop. It should not be tolerated when directed at anyone. But when one considers that all those involved in local politics are sacrificing their time, effort and energy for no other reason than to advocate for the Town, in the way they feel is best, then such harassment becomes even more intolerable.

This is especially true considering how difficult it has been for local political parties to find candidates willing to serve.

The time constraints that come with the territory already present obstacles that many are unable to overcome. If concerns about harassment and unrelenting criticism become the norm, what chance will the community have of finding the next best crop of councilors and board members?

Paul Bowman has been a part of a leadership team credited with helping to create a collaborative working environment on the Council. He spearheaded revisions to the Town Charter and has lent his years of business and development experience to the community’s efforts to further grow the grand list and attract new companies to Cheshire.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with every stance taken or every policy promoted by Bowman is immaterial. He’s chosen over a period of decades to volunteer his time to help the community, and for that he should be applauded

Such commitment should not be overlooked or disregarded. It certainly shouldn’t evoke such strong emotions as to lead to harassment. In a society in search of tolerance, on that point we should all be able to agree.