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Eastonites Accuse Town of Withholding Information

EASTON, Conn. – When it comes to the town's dissemination of information, some Eastonites say less is not more.

"I think the overall tone and tenor of the town is: information is power, so give everyone as little information as possible so power is centralized. Then, it's too late to do anything when we finally find out what's going on," said Beverlee Dacey, an Easton resident who attends many of the town's meetings.

At a town meeting June 27 , Grant Monsarrat said, in regard to the South Park Avenue property, "We feel like we're groveling for information, and it appears that this is an ongoing thing." In a recent email to The Daily Easton, Monsarrat gives other instances in which he says information was lacking, including a $300,000 principal payment missing from the town's budget, failure to provide copies of ordinances before the April 25 town meeting at which they were voted upon, and a recent letter to the chief of police from Thomas Herrmann, terminating his position.

"There's a big need for a really open government. We live in a participatory democracy. People can't participate without knowing what's going on," said Town Clerk Derek Buckley, who did not receive copies of the ordinances after asking for them before the town meeting.

Monsarrat said in the email it was of "great concern" that the ordinances were not provided to the town clerk's office despite frequent requests. He said two of the ordinances gave more power to the first selectman, including revisions to the town's purchasing authority and competitive bidding ordinance and the ordinance enabling the town to publish summaries of adopted ordinances.

"It's the obligation of town government to see that the public is completely educated, and the obligation as a citizen to make an effort to be educated," said Monsarrat. "I'm not certain town government is making a concerted effort to provide full information to the public."

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