Bristol Downtown Development Corp. member Jennifer Janelle's response to Mike Nicastro, the chamber's president:
You really should not speak of things about which you do not know.
First, the original October meeting was scheduled for a date that I was prepared to attend. The meeting date was changed by the Executive Director due to space availability issues at City Hall to a date when the entire Board knew I was scheduled to be out of the country, despite my strong desire to be present. I made every attempt to be at that meeting, calling and emailing members several times from my travels. I did get hung up in customs in New York and did not make it back. The circumstances were well beyond my control and I resent the implication that I have somehow shirked my duties. It was a special meeting, not a regularly scheduled meeting, and one called at the last minute at that.
Additionally, we as a Board have been advised by counsel not to have direct communications with either bidder. Neither is a publicly traded company with 10-ks and other reports available for public inspection. So how exactly do you propose that I do my own due diligence?
Other internal issues exist concerning what questions would be asked and by whom and these issues have been raised by me over and over again in the 3 years I have been on the Board. I will not debate those issues with you, a non-member. If you had attended each and every Board meeting, you would know my positions have been consistent and unwavering on the appropriate process we should be following. I have been outvoted on numerous occasions and the minutes and recordings evidence that.
The Board has had proposals in hand less than 60 days. No other community that I have ever worked with (more than 2 dozen municipalities and 80 Boards of Education while in private practice advising communities on construction and development projects related to energy and other utility projects) has acted on a bid response in less than 60 days and without any due diligence whatsoever. Nashua New Hampshire did 8 months of due diligence prior to selecting a developer. However, I am unwilling to rely on someone else's process, not having seen it or knowing anything about it. Unfortunately, I am also not willing to compromise my personal or professional integrity to go along with the pack and do what I am told.
My only interest is in getting the best possible developer for the best possible downtown in the best possible procedural way to avoid problems down the road. I am not in this for votes, contributions or political favors. I am in this for the people of Bristol. It is unfortunate that so many in this town drive away volunteers trying to make the City a better place with the name-calling, demands for resignations and the like. I will not bend to threats, intimidation, name-calling and all out attempts at public embarrassment.
I'm sorry that we disagree, but I intend to do it in a professional and polite manner. If you have specific concerns you want to address with me, I invite you to pick up the phone and I would be happy to arrange a time to meet with you, rather than making a public spectacle out this.
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