By Beth David
Peter DeTerra, the long time chairperson of the Fairhaven Zoning Board of Appeals, has denied asking the Selectboard not to reappoint Rene Fleurent to the ZBA.
After the ZBA meeting on Tuesday, Mr. DeTerra, in the full company of the board as they began to leave the room, said he had no idea why Mr. Fleurent was not reappointed to the ZBA. When asked pointedly and specifically if he sent a list, Mr. DeTerra said he did not.
After the Neighb News obtained a letter* written by Mr. DeTerra with his recommendation that Mr. Fleurent not be reappointed, Mr. DeTerra said in a phone interview that he had not been asked if he sent a “letter,” he had been asked if he sent a “list.”
“I was asked to give a letter of recommendation and that’s the recommendation I gave,” said Mr. DeTerra. “I am not the approving authority. That’s what I interpreted your question as.”
He stressed that only the Selectboard has the authority, and it was their decision not to re-appoint Mr. Fleurent to the ZBA.
“I just give my recommendations,” said Mr. DeTerra. “They are the appointing authority. They can do what they want.”
He did stand by his recommendation, repeating the charge in the letter that Mr. Fleurent’s position on the Planning Board, an elected post, has caused conflicts of interest in some cases and that he believes it will continue to do so.
“The Planning Board makes rules and regulations,” said Mr. DeTerra. “And we give relief to those regulations.”
He also said that Mr. Fleurent is “disruptive” in meetings and has side conversations instead of going through the chair.
“He needs to pay attention more,” said Mr. DeTerra. “He’s very disruptive and asks other board members instead of bringing it to the chair. He should be talking to the whole board.”
The list of appointments that was voted on at the Selectboard’s 5/23 meeting was prepared by Selectboard Administrative Assistant Anne O’Brien. She said she prepared the list the way she always does, based on the recommendations of the chairs, and she included the letter from Mr. DeTerra for Selectboard members.
“For me, personally, I was just reading the names on the list,” said Selectboard Chairperson Charles Murphy. “I didn’t see that there was a letter.”
He said that at some point he became aware of the letter, that it was, indeed, attached to the list, but that he just hadn’t noticed it.
Mr. Fleurent did not return a phone call by press time to comment on this story. He did, however, speak at the Selectboard meeting on Monday, 6/6, stating categorically that he wanted to be appointed to the ZBA.
He said he wanted the board to know that he was “enthusiastic about serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals.”
Anyone interested in being appointed needs to send a letter to the Selectboard by noon on June 16.
The position is an associate position; it was erroneously announced as a full board position.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. DeTerra’s letter is available on our website at www.NeighbNews. com, under archives and the 6/9/16 issue.
Click to download Peter Deterra’s Letter: ZBA Letter_Deterra
Click to download the 6/9/16 issue in its entirety: 06-09-16 issGraduation