Friday, June 23, 2000
Flannery path dispute continues
The dispute between Walter Flannery and the McCormicks has flared up again. The board voted last January 11 that the path running from land owned by Flannery on Baldwin Road, over the Carr conservation land, and near land owned by Bill and Margie McCormick to Bellows Hill Road is not a town road. The conservation commission subsequently declared that vehicles may not be driven over the conservation land. The McCormicks believe there is no basis for the claim that there is a public road over their property and that they are tired of being harassed. Flannery, on the other hand, doggedly maintains that he has the right of passage over the road and persists in keeping the path open as a right of way.
Lawsuits have ensued and the latest incidents that bring the McCormicks before the board of selectmen are a string of so-called "blunders" by the town in Flannery's favor. The first was a "flub-up" in the minutes of the fateful January 11 meeting that incorrectly identified the disputed path. The board quickly voted to correct the minutes so that they now describe the path as located between Flannery's land and Bellows Hill Road. The second "blunder" was an incorrect address provided on an assessor's map that was later used by Flannery to bolster his case. Chair Michael Fitzgerald referred the McCormicks to the board of assessors for corrective action since it is outside of the selectmen's jurisdiction.
The third, and most controversial issue, is the McCormicks' accusation that the town provided Flannery with a confidential memo from town counsel advising the police and town officials on matters related to the dispute. This was vehemently denied by Fitzgerald, who stated that all documents not specifically identified as confidential are available to the public. Bill McCormick questioned how Flannery knew that the document was available, whereas they were not informed. He then went on to accuse Flannery of harassment at the transfer station and of "bad-mouthing" him and Margie at every opportunity. Fitzgerald asserted that such harassment by town employees or volunteers will "absolutely not be tolerated." This dispute shows no sign of dissipating and board members could only shake their heads in dismay at the vitriolic situation.
The next selectmen's meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 27.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito