, Newburyport, MA


April 9, 2013

Questions on handling of deer butchering incident

To the editor:

This is in follow-up to the informative article recently in The Daily News regarding the deer butchering incident that was perpetrated by two Rowley Water Department employees last December in the area of Well #3 off Boxford Road.

I have two points to raise about this issue:

1) What action or communication did town management take with regard to communicating this potential health-risk situation to Rowley residents? Not understanding the entire sequence of events, this issue happened last December, but it seems that the issue is only coming into light some three to four months later. Why is that? Will someone from Town Hall be filling in the gaps and providing a reasonable explanation? I am well aware of the fact that there are many hardworking town employees and dedicated volunteers involved with the various boards and committees in town and who put in countless hours and effort to make Rowley a great place to live. This incident does, however, raise a basic question about the overall responsiveness and accountability of Rowley town management to Rowley residents and taxpayers.

2) As a Rowley taxpayer for over 25 years, town management also needs to be proactive with communicating to Rowley residents the status of the $25K fine levied by the DEP and how it is going to be satisfied. Are town taxpayer dollars being expected to be used to settle this fine? If they haven’t already, is someone from the town planning to at least try to take action against the individuals involved where they be held financially responsible for all of or at least some of this fine? Compared to an overall town budget in the area of $13 million, this fine is a relatively small dollar amount, but having the town take some action against these two individuals would be: A) a positive step toward showing respect for town taxpayer dollars, as well as B) signal an attempt by town management at addressing what is a truly an embarrassing incident for our town.

Like most Rowley residents who are focused on our busy daily lives with family and job responsibilities, I haven’t paid much attention in recent years as to the happenings at Town Hall. At a minimum, this incident has prompted me sit up and start to take better notice.

John Murtagh


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