Letter to the Editor: It's Been a Privilege to Serve

Bill Bowler writes that it has been an honor and privilege to serve on the Board of Selectmen for nine years.

To the Editor:

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as Hamilton Selectman for the past nine years. It has been - mostly - enjoyable and - occasionally - even fun. I have met and worked with many dedicated people who care deeply for the town. I expect to keep interested and involved.

I wish the best of luck and success to Jeff and the rest of the Selectmen and town leaders as we go forward. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Bill Bowler

Essex Street

Dick Hewett May 29, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Was the conversation between Candy Wheeler and the Selectmen minuted? If Bill Bowler was in some kind of relations with the town attorney Donna Brewer during his terms in office, where is your poof? Whatever Bill's failings - and I'm sure he had some, I had many conversations with him and came away with the impression that he was primarily concerned with the good of the town. Bill was the first to recognize that every person has a point of view and sought to accommodate it, which is more than I can say for some of the comments here. It's very easy to snipe at someone if you have never done their job. Remember Act 3, scene ii of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Mark Antony:) "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones".
Dick Hewett May 29, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Was the conversation between Candy Wheeler and the Selectmen minuted? If Bill Bowler was in some kind of relations with the town attorney Donna Brewer during his terms in office, where is your poof? Whatever Bill's failings - and I'm sure he had some, I had many conversations with him and came away with the impression that he was primarily concerned with the good of the town. Bill was the first to recognize that every person has a point of view and sought to accommodate it, which is more than I can say for some of the comments here. It's very easy to snipe at someone if you have never done their job. Remember Act 3, scene ii of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Mark Antony:) "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones".
Jack Englund May 29, 2011 at 04:08 PM
As I do not know Bowler at all and have not lived in Hamilton for a while I still get the urge to watch and listen to what is going on in town. My in-laws still live near Donna Brewer, the town counsel. So I get the updates and scoop from them. My wife and I always try to be on town Boards and I can tell you that back in the day of the three Selectman and town administrator, the mistakes coming out of Hamilton were looked at by a lot of other towns. Anyone here that thinks Bowler was good for your town is wrong. As towns meet with officials to train their full and part-time government officials Hamilton was not only used to show how not to run a town, it was also used to show examples of what can go wrong in a town if you violate the easy to follow rules we all must follow. So I ask that yo tell us how Bowler could not be considered a liability to the town? Explain to us how it was right to let the above mentioned investigations that were public, go on without telling his fellow Board members? This would never have happened if the three Hamilton Selectman had not been so secretive. The form of government that includes hiding issues from the voters is never right. If you are hiding anything other than the allowed, or if you are bending the rules in the least then you and the others are in violation, so look and try to fix it immediately. That is the easy way to self check. This has been taught to elected officials including both town administrators and Selectmen.
Jack Englund May 29, 2011 at 04:20 PM
And if you knew your old town administrator, Candice Wheeler who I know and would see attended many meetings on how to properly run a town then you also know she defended herself concerning the problems coming out of Hamilton over the past half a decade. By telling that she had told Selectmen of problems in town but still there was nothing done, Candice claims they all to well knew of the EMT police scandal but did not want to harm Hamilton's little orb of prestige or loose the town operated ambulance that produced great amounts of cash for Hamilton. This Harvard educated smart lady told of untrained police officers, who ran the town ambulance, still being paid as trained even while the BoS knew of the practice! This is almost as bad as being one of the only BoS that have been charged with breaking open meeting rules blatantly, over and over. And many of us in other towns have known Candy for over a decade, she is respected and is not lying about this. When she reported problems to Bowler, she did not get him to change his ways, especially if he is defending someone who he has a relationship with like attorney Donna Brewer. You would just be ignored and then publicly ostracized. Your town is better off with a five person BoS and town manager. And Bill, no matter how much you supported him or thank him for his work, got town insurance for the rest of his life. That is so unusual and is payment for good service let alone the bad service he gave to Hamilton. Read the reports!
Tea Goodwin May 29, 2011 at 04:59 PM
I know nothing more of any of the towns troubles than I read in the paper. That is quite a lot but there has been nothing more about the violation district attorney Martha Coakley hit the board of selectmen with after they obviously had secret meetings and the problem at the police department with the lawsuit by officer Marchand (other than a question at town meeting a couple weeks past). And there was an issue of the town ambulance that the police ran but were never trained to run. Can anyone let me know what has happened with these three problems and how they were allowed to be? I voted for Bowler a while ago but would not vote for him after reading what I read. It is bad if you look at all the articles and reports of the things he and the other 3 member board did that were on Questionable Ethics site and in the Salem news.
J spencer May 29, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Easy to get a taste of the Board over the past few years by read this blog and the attached minutes and reports. http://theinformedhamilton.blogspot.com/2009/09/pattern-of-closed-door-secrecy.html Should answer any Bowler questions you have. As for the lawsuit filed by Marchand the attorney representing the town in the case stated it was going in for mediation soon, or in other words it will be over and we will never see the actual problems or embarrassing actions of certain government office holders that caused the suit to be filed in the first place however that is the downside of mediation. People in the Hamilton government can keep their dirty little secrets, well secret. Along the lines of the seven secret meeting violations the D.A. looked into. The Hamilton's Board of Selectmen were absolutely wrong to call the seven meetings executive because of legal strategy for the Marchand suit because in fact the meeting minutes easily show, and you could read them in the blog above that they are clearly just a way the BOS to talk about people and situations away from the public eye.
amanda scott May 29, 2011 at 10:27 PM
What a great blog spot on Hamilton politics. http://theinformedhamilton.blogspot.com Thanks for the link J. Questionable ethics seems to know about the pulse of Hamilton. I use to think the I use to think the news about Selectmen misbehavior over the past few years was just impossible or just rumorville but after reading all the blogs on this website I am glad they are all gone! Bill Bowler should never be a member of any public Board ever again. But I ask, how is it that Donna Brewer is still is listed as the town's attorney and Officer Wallace is still on the police department after all I read that they did? As far as answers in this blog above I feel Selectman Bowler certainly looks as guilty as they say. I am super happy we have 5 new Selectmen members and a new town manager after 2 hours of reading Questionable ethics blogs! Disgusting people were in offices over the past years for sure.
Robert Foringer May 29, 2011 at 11:17 PM
too think the town still pays for his insurance????? is that right?
Amanda Scott May 30, 2011 at 12:23 AM
My Husband is much more into town politics than I was, until reading the informed hamiltonian blog by Questionable ethics! And hubby will not put our name on this blog (maiden names are great for this reason) I have asked him your question. The answer was 100 percent YES. Many of the people in town though Bill Bowler would not get insurance because he served only 9 of the required 10 years on an elected Board. Unfortunately for taxpayers (And this is a directed answer to "how did Bill Bowler raise taxes"? Well he also served on another Board, possibly the ConCom, and that gave him the magic number to get health benefits. As my husband said, Bill fooled a lot of people for a long time but now the cat is out of the bag Bill should see that the voters of Hamilton are no longer blind to his unforgivable mistakes now. Unfortunately we will pay higher taxed until he expires! I still am reading the Questionable ethics blog - Once you start reading about all the topics listed on the right of the site, you just can't stop! It reads like a good book but is sad reality for the people in Hamilton. As it has been said, good riddance Bill Bowler!
Amanda Scott May 30, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Everyone has to read this! http://theinformedhamilton.blogspot.com/2009/07/urbelis-report.html Can anyone tell me where to read this Report? It is nowhere to be found. I did not know there were so many sordid goings-on in our little town hall!
Peter Fuller May 30, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Happy Memorial Day all! I have read the Informed Hamiltonian and was quite displeased as to the behavior of several paid employees and elected officials in the town. I had always read the Salem News but this information was still upsetting to me because their actions seem to be just malignant. It is no wonder why this town changed to a five member Selectman Board, as it is obvious the 3 person Board was not able to control the people working for the town let alone itself. A wake up call for Hamilton as far as the way we look at people like Bill Bowler and Donna MacKenna. Is there anyone who knows why she is still the town attorney?
Michelle Bailey May 30, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Donna (MacKenna) Brewer rMesigned as town councel in the spring of 2010. Town Manager Mike Lombardo asked her to stay-on while he was getting up to speed. This was all discussed during a televised Board of Selectman meeting.
Allen Dewsett May 30, 2011 at 04:13 PM
The statement by Michelle in this blog is just not correct. The town has several lawyers due in part to legal battles and personnel matters of the last 5 years. One of these other attorney is named Jack Collins. He was very active last in the a case involving police officer Michael Marchand way back in 2008 (Now this case is known as the Marchand lawsuit by town officials in BoS meetings.) There is also another attorney named Doug Louison who is dealing with that lawsuit against the town. It gets hard to recall all the Hamilton lawyers! Attorney Collins has been place into the role of attorney for issues within or about police department matters, as attorney MacKenna was removed from all police department issues due to the findings by several investigations that she acted unprofessionally in these police matters mentioned in the Marchand case. As far as I know at this point Miss. MacKenna is still our general town counsel, and was neverr disciplined by the town let alone terminated. As far as why she was not fired, I have no idea because it seems clear she and the actions of some Selectmen was a big reason that the town is in a major lawsuit brought against Hamilton by Marchand.
Questionable Ethics May 30, 2011 at 04:17 PM
There will be a day to look critically at Bill Bowler's service as Selectmen, but not here and now. Bill Bowler has handled his defeat with remarkable grace and humility, and it would simply not be appropriate to do anything here other than thank him for serving. Donna Brewer is still serving as acting Town Council -- nearly a year after her term had expired on June 30, 2010. She was present at Town Meeting and spoke several times. I imaging that with Bowler's departure from the Board that she will be leaving short as well.
Michelle Bailey May 30, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Regardless of what you post here, the facts are the facts. At the meeting of the BOS last summer, Mr. Lombardo explained that Ms. Donna Brewer had resigned (asked not to renew her contract), but that he had asked her to stay on as he was new and would need someone with background info. This would be in the records of the televised meeting on hwcam.org and possibly reflected in the minutes of that meeting. Feel free to check them out for accuracy. I know you’ll find my recollection to be fully accurate.
Questionable Ethics May 30, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Don't disagree with your recollection, but .... twelve months for a knowledge dump?!? Come on! QE
Allen Dewsett May 30, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I just got off the phone with a town hall employee who assured me that if you watch the February 7 or possibly the February 14th, BoS meeting Donna is referred to as town counsel by town Manager Michael Lombardo. How do you explain this Michelle? The town hall employee stated that she is the town of Hamilton general counsel and that attorney Collins is counsel for the police department as Donna has has "problems" at the police department. Also she is mentioned in a town hall pamphlet this person was reading from dated November of 2010, town counsel is again named as Donna MacKenna. You are so right Michelle, facts are facts! Also it is a wonder she has not been fired or told to leave if you read the informed Hamiltonian. it is written very well, Brewer and Bowler have plenty to do with Hamilton's horrid reputation at this point in time. Now that Bowler is voted out Brewer should just be fired. http://theinformedhamilton.blogspot.com/2010/01/qe-it-complicated-part-3-of-4.html "I find it difficult to believe that Brewer did not bring up the email that she received from Officer Karen Wallace describing the cupola fund as an "extortion" fund. Think about it: a female town employee alleges harassment, bullying, misuse of a department squad car, and criminal activity .. and Brewer responds by sitting on this information for three months? So. Not. Believing." This stuff is just nuts!
John Hamilton May 30, 2011 at 07:04 PM
As of last Thursday Donna MacKenna is absolutely town counsel of Hamilton.
Robert Foringer May 30, 2011 at 07:42 PM
31 comments on here regarding Bill BOWLER. The majority seem shocked??? If anything this forum has awakened the people to waste of money being spent in this town. Lombardo should start with each dept.....we have the worst fields in the league for High School sports. ONE of the fields IS PATTON PARK which is the center of town and all our kids programs in summer..disgraceful were the Laughing stock of the North Shore!!!
Questionable Ethics May 30, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Numerous BoS meeting minutes list Brewer as Town Council, and she spoke in that capacity at Town Meeting regarding capping the land fill. The question is what is she still doing as Town Council a full 12 months after indicating that she would want seek another appointment? You will be aware that both Gerard Hayes and Robert Pomeroy, two consultants hired by the Town, singled out Brewer for mishandling the problems in the police department, as did Thomas Urbelis in his report to the Selectmen (suppressed from the public under attorney-client privilege). Brewer is also listed as a defendant in Marchand v Town of Hamilton et al. QE
Michelle Bailey May 30, 2011 at 09:22 PM
That is correct, Donna Brewer is the Hamilton Town Counsel. She asked the town NOT to reappoint her to that position in 2010 shortly after Mike Lombardo was hired as the Town Manager. The reason she is still the Hamilton Town Counsel is that Mr. Lombardo asked her to stay on to help him during the transitional year. As QE states, for Hamilton the question is, should she continue in that capacity now that Lombardo has fully transitioned into the role of Town Manager? That is a question for the Town Manager and Board of Selectman to consider. If you have an opinion on that question, you should direct it to them, not comment about it in response to a very appropriate thank you by a former selectman.
John Hamilton May 31, 2011 at 12:13 AM
Useless unless you want the town to be in legal peril? Wait could it be if they told her to get out, or if she decided to leave it would harm her and the town in this law suit Vs. officer Marchand? Gee you think? What a disgrace she AND Bill Bowler are! Still reading your blog Questionable ethics, very informative you are.
C. Amaro May 31, 2011 at 01:10 AM
I think both Bowler and Brewer should be out of Hamilton politics. I read the informed Hamilton and Jay Burnham's blog religiously and have read all the reports by the investigators about the police and Brewer. I even knew one person who got a sneak peek at the Urbelis report that is kept locked up at town hall. The person just told me it was very clear that Brewer was as guilty if not more than she looks if you read the independent reports or even just Q.E.'s blog, nothing more. Is there anyway that report will be public, possibly after she resigns? It would be entertaining reading!
R. Allen June 01, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Bowler and MacKenna along with EX-chief Butch Cullen opened Hamilton up to a very monatarily large legal suit with former patrolman Michael Marchand. As these topics are being raised about Bowler, MacKenna and the rest of the bafoons at both town hall and the police department the lawsuit by Marchand creeps towards trial. That is when we should see the true story behind many issues in town! The entire sordid story will fall back into the papers and the town again will have to endure being looked at in an incredibly negative light for not only the treatment of Marchand but how the town was involved in the E.M.T. scandal and the entire story of mis-management of the police department by Cullen, who by time of trial will be a convicted felon. Remember, Cullen will be going to trial in the next weeks for his felonious action in the Hamilton ambulance and E.M.T. embarrassment. Cullen may, from what I have heard even be claiming the town Selectman and former town Adminastrator Candy Wheeler all knew about this E.M.T. issue but never acted upon it. This would be a serious issue for the town hall if true! This story along with news the lawsuit will keep Hamilton's sad but true past on front pages for a very long time! The embarrasment this town has already suffered as a result of idiotic actions will be thrown-up all over the news not just once, but twice (Cullen and the E.M.T issue and Marchand's lawsuit).
Jay Burnham February 08, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Amanda...According to news reports and sources close to the lawsuit, a settlement has been reached between Hamilton and Officer Mike Marchand. Once the has been completed, a copy of the Urbelis Report should be made available for the public to review. The taxpayers paid for the report and should be demanding its release by the Board of Selectmen immediately, now that it is no longer something to be kept secret "due to pending litigation". I believe that we will learn a great deal more about acting Town Counsel Donna Brewer's role in the entire event that led to the unfortunate lawsuit in the first place.
Jay Burnham February 08, 2012 at 12:13 PM
That was nearly a year ago...I believe he is "up to speed now" and Ms. Brewer is still employed as acting Town Counsel. Perhaps it is now time for her to "resign" again. I hear Wenham is looking for additional legal assistance to work with Paul Weaver.
Jay Burnham February 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM
C. Amaro... Now is the time to demand the release of the Urbelis Report as a settlement has been reached with Mike Marchand. Residents and taxpayers: CONTACT YOUR SELECTMEN NOW AND TELL THEM TO RELEASE THE URBELIS REPORT. You paid for it! You have a right to read it!
Michelle Bailey February 08, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Jay, open government is something we'll always agree about. The timely release of public reports needs to happen. The Hamilton BOS should also release all Executive Session minutes having to do with litigation strategy on this case.
Michelle Bailey February 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Perhaps it's time to bring this issue to the BOS and Town Manager. I've heard the plan about changing counsel in Wenham. It looks a retaining a firm instead of one person. Ms. Brewer doesn't qualify.
Jay Burnham February 08, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Michelle... Good point. I can add the minutes to the Urbelis Report and complete my summer reading list.


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