Opinion: Behavior towards Marion Planning Board clerk should produce outcry

Apr 29, 2024

To the editor:

Having read the letter/opinion of Eileen Marum of the Marion Planning Board in the most recent Sippican Week, I am compelled to respond. Since when does a woman working in any position to enhance the quality of life for the people of Marion have to endure the bullying of the verbally abusive, ill-mannered, boorish, peckish behavior of her male colleagues? There should be an outcry from the town over the dearth of noblesse oblige at these meetings. Consider this as one such outcry.

Ms. Marum has a large constituency which has put her on the board for the last eight years. When the Planning Board members attempt to silence her, they attempt to silence her constituents who vote consistently. The board members should be careful of suppressing opinions because it might lead to suppression of votes. Nota bene: not a good idea for longevity on the board. Her constituents vote in and vote out.

The question begging to be queried is where was the chair when all of this bullying was happening? The first role of the chair is to ensure each member has the opportunity to speak her truth, quietly and clearly, and in turn, listen to the voices/opinions of other members of the board. The second role is to admonish, if necessary, those loud, aggressive persons who are in breach of decorum because they are vexatious to the spirit of collegiality and the continuation of the task at hand. The third role is to remove from the assembly any person who continues exhibiting behaviors which impede the progress of the agenda and the cohesion of the group. Why were those steps not taken by the chair?

Certainly, a public apology is due Ms. Marum, for without one, tacit permission is being given to continue the outrageous behavior reported from the last meeting of the Planning Board.

Is the town administrator taking note? Perhaps it is time for some sensitivity training for all members of all boards. Without doubt, an investigation by the administrator or his proxy should proceed immediately, so that the breach of decorum never happens again.

Diane V. Owens