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Accusations of Nepotism Unfounded

Accusations of Nepotism Unfounded

I am dismayed by Cathy Wick’s recent campaign statement accusing Mary Lee Barker, a long-time volunteer on our town’s Human Services Commission, and Jeanette Glicksman, Youth Services Program Coordinator, of nepotism and being “each other’s bosses”. Nepotism, the practice of favoring relatives or friends, especially through employment, does not apply here. Ms. Barker and Ms. Glicksman are not related in any way. Ms. Barker is not Ms. Glicksman’s boss. Our volunteer Town Commission members do not supervise town employees. Ms. Glicksman is an employee of the town agency to which Ms. Barker donates her time. Ms. Wick’s careless jumble of facts shows a lack of understanding of the role of our town commissions.

This is a small town. Of course volunteer members of our commissions and the employees in our town departments know each other and, one would hope, do form friendships.

This much is true: Ms. Barker has volunteered for the Human Services commission for fifteen years and been Chair for six years. Think of attending senior crafts fairs, of chaperoning youth events, of late night meetings about transportation for our elderly and fuel assistance for our needy, all unpaid work. This is true as well: Mary Lee Barker has a small, part time position in the registrar’s office where Ms. Glicksman is also employed.

True again: Mary Lee Barker has cheerfully donated thousands of hours to our town. In addition to Human Services, Ms. Barker held leadership positions in the PTO at Beecher Road School and Amity Middle and Senior High Schools. Further, Ms Barker, a member of the Friends of the Library for more than ten years, served as its President for many years and managed the Friends Bookstore, an enterprise that turns its proceeds over to our town library.

For Ms. Wick to publicly challenge Ms. Barker’s ethics, when neither a family nor an employer-employee relationship exists between Ms. Barker and Ms. Glicksman, is wrong. Volunteers should be celebrated, not used as fodder in a political campaign.

Ms. Wick has violated the privacy of a dedicated volunteer to our town, but Mary Lee Barker’s reputation is sterling.

Donna Lehman

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