Diplomats and Accountants

As I write in this week’s Tiverton-LittleComptonPatch column, the two aspects of a local budget controversy are diplomacy and accounting. That is, one controversy is over communication and process, and the other is over actual tax dollars and how they should be allocated:

The starkest delineation of this dynamic came during a special meeting of the Town Council, last Thursday evening. Council President Jay Lambert opened with an (overly) extensive review of the who-said-whats with regard to a joint meeting of the Town Council and School Committee, after which Councilman Dave Nelson (also president of Tiverton Citizens for Change) offered to walk the council and the audience through a presentation explaining the origin of the financial disagreement. (See clips 1 and 2 of the included video.)
Before Nelson could project the relevant spreadsheet for public viewing, Councilman Brett Pelletier interrupted to express his own intention for the meeting: “I’m trying very hard to prevent people who want to fight with each other to fight with each other, because I won’t have it.” In patrician fashion, Pelletier began his plea not with an olive branch of good will, but by describing Lambert’s monologue as “tainted with smug, cavalier, and disingenuous terminology.” (See clip 3.)

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