Advancing a private agenda under the guise of public service is not the way to instill trust in your electorate.
But that is precisely what the optics say in the case of Milton Selectman Ryan Thibeault v. Three Ponds Auto et al regarding the wall behind the business.
If we are to believe what CEO Brian Boyers said on Monday, the last interaction he had with then-private-citizen Thibeault regarding the wall at 254 White Mountain Highway was that if he was so infuriated that the wall was there, maybe he should pursue the matter legally and have his attorney contact Town Counsel.
Now fast forward to this spring and statements on videotape that indicate now-Selectman Thibeault, who lives next door to Three Ponds Automotive, has been reaching out to Town Counsel over the wall.
Weeks later the owner of the business gets a letter saying he must pay for an engineer to test the stability of the wall.
A reasonable person would agree that the optics do not look good for Mr. Thibeault, who has pressed several town officials and town boards in the past year arguing that the wall is a liability to the town and should be brought down, modified or tested for stability.
However, town officials prior to Thibeault's election in March, appeared to give short shrift to his concerns.
At a videotaped Aug. 8 selectmen's meeting former Three Ponds Automotive owner Joseph St. Lawrence is talking to the board about a separate matter when then-private-citizen Thibeault tells selectmen, "I'll remind (unintelligible) it's still a safety concern."
"On the wall?" then selectmen chair Tom Gray mutters.
"That's for somebody else to decide I guess," St. Lawrence then says.
Ironically, it may not, in fact, be somebody else.
Even more troubling is that Gray stood up for Thibeault at the June 26 meeting, saying that once selectmen are aware of a potential liability to the town, they must vigorously pursue a course of action to eradicate it.
However, that didn't seem to be the intent of the former chairman during his tenure.
Now it appears Mr. Thibeault's quest to bring the wall down, if it comes of fruition, could well be on the taxpayer's dime, not his.
To view the Aug. 8 exchange click HERE and check out the last couple of minutes of the meeting.