During Thursday's selectmen's meeting at Town Offices Selectmen Chair Chip Harlow was briefing colleagues on a matter of concern brought to him by a town resident regarding a tax abatement matter.
While the abatement matter, itself, appears headed to a substantive solution, it was Harlow's comment on the resident's initial query that got our attention, and should get the attention of every town resident.
"I basically said no f---ing way," Harlow said during the live-streamed meeting.
Remarkably, when he used the F-bomb at the 35:40 mark of Thursday's meeting, no one else on the board or in attendance at the meeting flinched, let alone urged him to clean up his potty-mouth.
Can this mean it is a common occurrence with the current board chair? We certainly hope not.
Much of the meeting dealt with whether or not to allow a nonresident to serve on a town board, and the troubling precedent that might set.
We would suggest that Mr. Harlow's use of the F-bomb also sets a troubling precedent for how the selectboard should conduct its public and live-broadcast meetings, not to mention the deplorable message it sends to our young people who might someday be assigned to watch a selectmen's meeting as part of a civics class assignment.
If Lebanon's selectmen's chair can't curb his vulgar outbursts, how can he maintain the moral authority to control such outbursts from visitors who often come into meetings already amped up because of some complaint or perceived wrongdoing by the town?
Given this obvious penchant for vulgarity, it would seem he couldn't.
We don't expect to see our leaders in the state legislatures or halls of Congress talk this way, and neither should we when it comes to town committees as well.
When they do, it disrespects both the residents and the town.
- - HT