To the Editor:
As public officials and administrators we spend the bulk of our time ensuring that the services you receive are delivered responsibly and effectively with an understanding that in most situations, there invariably will be some who disagree with that decision.
Postponing trick-or-treat activities in Hamilton and Wenham for a few days was based upon all available information at the time, and in consideration of what would be gained or lost by delaying the activity.
We knew our decision would certainly disappoint our youth who spent a fair amount of time picking out the perfect costume, and waiting in great anticipation for the fun that Halloween can bring.
What we also knew was that at the beginning of Halloween Day, over 1,400 residents in the two towns were still without power with no real understanding of how many would be restored by day’s end; that many streets, driveways, and front yards were littered with fallen trees and debris; that the power company could not assure us with absolute certainty that all downed wires were without power; and that darkened narrow streets strewed with debris created an unacceptable safety risk for the entire community.
Memories fade quickly, and we are reminded that during last year’s “Snowtober” – an event far short of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy - many Massachusetts communities either postponed or cancelled Trick-or Treat activities. The following statement was issued from the Governor’s Office:
“[Lieutenant Governor] Murray continued, “Given the fact that we are in a state of emergency, we’re asking municipal leaders to use discretion and common sense when making a decision as to whether they should be going forward with Halloween or not.”
For our part, discretion and common sense were the backbone of our decision-making and while we sympathize and certainly apologize to all the children for their disappointment, believe that disappointment is a far better emotion to reconcile than the grief over the loss of a sibling or family member, neighbor, or friend.
Michael Lombardo, Hamilton Town Manager
Mark Andrews, Wenham Town Administrator
Mike Harvey, Superintendent, Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District
Russ Stevens, Hamilton Police Chief
Tom Perkins, Wenham Police Chief