Selectman Jamie J. Sloniecki resigned from the Bourne Board of Selectmen on Tuesday of this week, effective immediately, an action that surprised fellow board members.
His letter of resignation, directed to the town clerk, said, “Circumstances have occurred and the depth to which I am disappointed makes it appropriate to inform you I am no longer capable to hold the office of Selectman. Effective today, January 17, 2012, I hereby resign as a Selectman for the Town of Bourne.”
Mr. Sloniecki had mentioned publicly several times that he did not intend to run next May, when his term expires, said board Chairman Donald J. Pickard. Mr. Pickard said he was surprised at the resignation, particularly since it came on the heels of the selectmen’s successful celebration of the winning season of Bourne High School’s football team, an event Mr. Sloniecki helped plan and execute.
A strong supporter of youth sports and an opponent of New Generation Wind’s Bournedale wind turbine project, Mr. Sloniecki gave Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino the best review among selectmen and recently proposed that a commercial mooring freeze be in effect until fairer regulations are written.
Mr. Pickard, who received a phone call from Mr. Sloniecki just after he turned his letter of resignation into the clerk’s office, as required, said Mr. Sloniecki reported “feeling lighter” after having made his decision.
In looking back over the past six years in which he served on the board, Mr. Sloniecki wrote to the Enterprise to say that during his past and present terms on the board, the selectmen have made “lots of progress.” He added that, “We live in a better town for it.”
Six years ago, he said, “turmoil was common, and the Board had been informed that its function needed a facelift.” Over the years, board members made critical decisions that afterward proved to have had “perfect timing,” he said, and, things began to change for the better financially.
In totality, he said, Bourne is still a great place to live.
He added, however, that “unfortunately, in the end the negative I saw out of the camera’s view, and the destruction it caused, far outweighed the positive.”
While he declined an opportunity to be more specific, he said that although he saw the necessity for the layoff of town employees in light of the bleak budget forecast that prompted them, he was frustrated that, as a selectman, he was not able to provide more help for those who needed it.
On his Facebook page, Mr. Sloniecki said, “It has been my pleasure to serve as a Bourne Selectman for almost six years. I have served diligently, honorably, and without hesitation. Most importantly, I have examined each of my decisions from every angle to make certain they met the description of duties I swore to uphold. Unfortunately, not all other elected persons address their responsibility to the Town of Bourne in the same manner. Today, due to those circumstances and the depth to which I am disappointed by the behavior of those individuals, I resigned from the Office of Selectman.”
Mr. Sloniecki said he was frustrated that elected officials—not necessarily a reference to selectmen—were able to push individual agendas at the cost of people’s livelihood, again without providing any details.
Mr. Pickard praised Mr. Sloniecki’s service to the board, saying he has “a good grasp of what goes on” and does his homework. He said he would miss Mr. Sloniecki’s participation on the board.
Fellow selectman Peter J. Meier echoed that sentiment and added that Mr. Sloniecki, as a selectman, was willing to take a stand based on what he believed and stick to it.
Both selectmen said that whether they agreed or disagreed with him, Mr. Sloniecki always had the town’s best interest in mind.
Town Clerk Barry H. Johnson said that selectmen could call a special election, if they so choose, or such an election could be called by a petition signed by 200 voters. Under state law, a citizen’s petition or a formal letter from selectmen meeting the statutory requirements would need to be filed by February 3, a date determined by counting back from the already scheduled May 15 municipal elections. Mr. Johnson estimated that a special election to fill the vacant seat would cost the town about $13,000.
While he declined to speak for the board, Mr. Pickard said he, personally, thought it would be a waste of money to hold a special election so close to the date of Bourne’s regular election.
Whoever was elected at a special election, if one were to be held, would only serve for a short time before he or she would need to run for reelection. He said he thought the remaining four board members could “roll up their sleeves and pick up the slack” and handle town business until a new selectman was chosen by voters on May 15.
Mr. Meier said he also felt that spending taxpayer dollars for a special election was not something he would be in favor of.