By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — At least one selectman wants more accountability from a group calling itself “The Wakefield Civic League.” The group has been using that banner when writing letters to the press and speaking at public meetings.
Their primary issues to date have centered on the Brightview Senior Living facility proposed for Crescent Street and how the Zoning Board of Appeals has conducted its hearings on the matter.
A catalyst for Selectman Brian Falvey’s comments may have come early into Monday’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting when Susan Randolph-Frey spoke during public participation. Identifying herself as the “secretary” of the Wakefield Civic League, Frey complained at length about alleged conduct of Board of Appeals members.
But Falvey raised questions Monday night about the group’s legitimacy.
“The Wakefield Civic League is a non-entity,” Falvey said. “It doesn’t exist except in the minds of the people who think it does.”
The selectman said that he had been unable to find any listing for the Wakefield Civic League on the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s corporations database.
“With Coca Cola Corporation, I can go on their corporate web database and see who’s on their board of directors and who their officers are,” Falvey said.
The Wakefield Civic League, Falvey pointed out, “has been operating as an entity, they’ve signed letters to the editor as an entity, which doesn’t exist and which basically makes it an anonymous letter to the editor.”
Chairman Ann Santos agreed.
“A group of people can get together and form whatever they want to call it – a league,” Santos said. “But if they are presenting opinions, everyone’s name should be included.”
Addressing the board during public participation earlier in the meeting, Randolph-Frey said that she was speaking “on behalf of the Wakefield Civic League board of directors.”
She said that she was following up on a June 15 letter to the Item Forum from the Wakefield Civic League concerning behavior of Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) members toward the public at their June 10 meeting.
The statement read by Randolph-Frey alleged that the “rude behavior” exhibited by ZBA members on June 10 included “snickering, making faces, using cell phones, eating, rolling of eyes, tossing of snacks across the aisle, derogatory remarks and personal attacks.”
She asserted that there was “a demonstrated attitude of impatience at best and disdain for the public at worst.”
Randolph-Frey said that she was requesting, on behalf of the Wakefield Civic League, that the selectmen “look into these episodes of inappropriate and disrespectful board behavior toward people during meetings.”
She further said that the Wakefield Civic League was requesting that the matter be placed on the selectmen’s next meeting agenda, “which WCL will attend in order to hear your response.”
A Facebook page asserts that the “Wakefield Civic League” was founded in May 2015 “by and for Wakefield residents who are concerned about over-development and other important town issues.”
The Facebook page states that: “We are eager to register our non-profit status” and lists the following “Executive Board” members: Executive Board (in formation)
Chair: Bronwyn Della-Volpe
Vice Chair – Jacquelynn Millinor
Secretary – Susan Randolph-Frey
Treasurer – Pat Bruno
Legal Counsel – Anthony Guardia
Consultant – Fred Rich LaRiccia
Executive Board (in formation)
Ann Diamond, Bob McLaughlin and Sue Adrian are listed as members of a “board of directors (in formation).”
Just before adjournment of Monday’s meeting Chairman Ann Santos asked Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio to “look into the Wakefield Civic League on all fronts” prior to the next selectmen’s meeting.
In other business this week, the Board of Selectmen:
• Approved a request from the West Side Social Club to use Veterans Memorial and Lower commons for its July Fourth celebration from 6 a.m. on July 3 to 6 a.m. on July 5.
• Approved a request from Library Director Sharon Gilley to accept and expend $1,166 in gifts from various donors.
• Approved a request from Leslie Dole to donate a park bench to be placed at Veterans’ Field.
• Approved several recommendations of the Traffic Advisory Committee related to the intersection of Chestnut and Emerson streets, including making that intersection a “four-way stop.”
Published in the June 25, 2015 edition