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Putney Town Clerk treated insensitively

Editor’s note: Our reporting included multiple references by town officials in support of the Putney town clerk, who did not respond to a request for an interview. We would welcome her voice in this matter, either in these pages or in our continued reporting of this story. We believe it is in the public interest to explore the consequences of an elected public official’s actions, and we always strive for compassionate, thoughtful approaches in our reporting, especially on difficult or painful topics. We leave it to readers to judge whether we do so successfully.

RE: “When a town official stops working, what then?” [News, Sep. 13]:

The article about Putney Town Clerk Denise Germon is so one sided I cannot believe what I am reading. You do not know all the facts, which seems to be irrelevant to you. Denise Germon has been advised by counsel not to discuss the reasons for her leave of absence.

This article paints a picture that Denise disappeared with no communication to the Selectboard. You are wrong. I will submit to you that you did not ask the correct questions and Selectboard members and/or town staff did not tell you why Denise is taking a leave of absence because it was discussed in executive session.

You should be ashamed to so casually and broadly paint a picture of Denise Germon abandoning the town of Putney. If you cared about the person at all, the question you should be asking is what caused Denise Germon to take a leave of absence?

Residents of Putney have not seen a lack of service in the town clerk’s or town treasurer’s duties as they are being maintained by qualified assistants, as they have been for the last several years. This article is irresponsible at the highest level and smacks of sensationalism.

Denise is a caring, hardworking, dedicated and responsible person. Your careless writing to grab headlines for your own ends is sickening and very disappointing. I find your article very insensitive. I know that the residents of the town of Putney have the compassion to care for one of their own.

Apparently compassion and sensitivity are concepts with which you are unfamiliar.

I would urge you to fully research and understand the context of what you are writing about. Someday you may be on the receiving end of such misinformation and an unsubstantiated shadow may be cast upon your character. You would not want to be treated in such a way.

Vicki Coomes Goodrich
Lebanon, NH

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Tamara Stenn
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Tamara Stenn (Brattleboro, Vermont, US) says...

Thanks for writing this Elayne. I was thinking the same thing myself. The silence we received from the hospital is quite deafening. Unfortunately we\'ve had to continue working with the hospital as other (minor) heath issues come up.

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Judith Skillman
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Judith Skillman (Newcastle, US) says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

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Peter Ford
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Peter Ford (Dallas) says...

Nailed it - Thank you.

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TB Smith
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TB Smith (Ba, Oklahoma, US) says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the \"Kool-Aid party in Jonestown\" ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator \"wanabe\", will , inthe end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

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Amelia Stone
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Amelia Stone (E Dummerston, Vermont, US) says...

Kudos to the Boston Globe for encouraging newspapers across the country to remind us all of the value of a free press, and to the Commons for hearing that call. The NYTimes article, A Free Press Needs You, concludes with the following: \"If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.\" Today I plan to subscribe.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #429 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017). This story appeared on page E4.

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