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Holly McNamara resigns immediately from Somerset Board of Selectmen over Brayton Point



Somerset Selectman Holly McNamara has resigned through a statement on social media. Here is her statement.

“I first want to congratulate Mr. Smith on running a strong campaign. Welcome to the board. I have always believed that everyone deserves a chance to lead and a chance to give back to their community.

“That being said, as I’m sure you’re aware, I have a lot of skepticism with motives reasons for your running, and I hope you prove me wrong. When I was elected in 2016, the town was about to embark on one of the most difficult transitions in its existence. Brayton Point power plant was about to close, something that many past boards did not plan for nor expect. I ran because I knew time was of the essence and I could not sit on the sidelines and watch. I wanted to grab the reigns and move the town forward; forward in the direction that maximizes its potential.

“Since running for office, I learned so much about the awful politics, the fighting and the turmoil from the past boards. A lot of which prohibited forward movement and growth in the town. It caused our master plan from 2006 to sit on a shelf and collect dust; it caused a staff member who was destined to be a full time town planner to leave without notice. Everything seemed to stand still back before my time from what I am told.

“With that I came in with fresh eyes and a new perspective. A close friend from Los Angeles was amazed at the fact that our town is completely coastal. They were extremely jealous of the fact that we have access to the water. This spoke volumes to me especially coming from someone who lives near a California beach with palm trees and mountains. That has always stuck with me and has always been a motivating factor to bring Somerset to its full potential; we have what it takes, we just need to be given the chance.

“Since 2016, we have made massive strides. We have revisited the master plan, completing the two-year process with hundreds of residents paid for mostly by a federal grant. We have hired our first-ever town planner who has brought in millions of dollars in grants. Someone who grew up here and cares very deeply about the community. We have had inbound requests for large investments in our town without looking. These investors came to us. To name a few: the Marriott hotel development, Solar Therapeutics, the 4-year long awaited purchase of Wilbur School with the promise to restore the structure. We have started the decade-awaited restoration of the Quaker Meeting House — a National Historic gem built in 1701 that is recognized nationally. The building was on its last leg and we finally started a non-profit to restore it. There has been a massive resurgence of interest in the town’s history, which is such a great thing for the town since our roots run so deep.

“We have started maintenance programs for our town buildings, some of which had not been properly maintained for decades.

“People, residents and staff alike, have started taking pride in our work and pride in the town again. Our school systems have flourished.

“We came together through times of tragedy and loss. In ways that not many communities will ever come together. We are very lucky to have such a strong community here in Somerset.

“We haven’t once had to touch our stabilization fund, which is extremely important when it comes to bond rating — this fund is the largest its ever been and stayed this way through the closure of both power plants AND the pandemic. I would say we have done a tremendous job as a town sticking together through this turmoil. Past boards had predicted this fund to be depleted by now — and we are doing just the opposite — we continue to improve and SAVE money.

“Two years ago we were able to LOWER our tax rate by $3/1000 — this is a much bigger accomplishment than people realize. We hit rock-bottom with the closure of BP and still were able to lower the rate — way before revenue-generating projects have hit the books. We were able to maintain several exemptions for the elderly, people on fixed income, veterans and small businesses. We are looking up.

“There is so much more that has been done. I am so proud of our staff and residents. I am proud of the people that stayed positive and uplifted each other. That is the only way to survive.

“The one thing about me: you will never have to guess what I am thinking because I will tell you upfront. Most people hate that because I do not pander, and I do not tell people what they want to hear. I think that is important for an elected official to be honest and upfront. It is also very difficult, because you really don’t make many friends that way. However I am not here to make friends (despite the fact that I have met so many amazing people over my terms in office).

“All of this being said, my biggest concern is what has been transpiring over the past two years. I’ll cut to the chase — ever since Save Our Bay Brayton Point has started to get involved in our community (after many years of admitted non-participation), everything that I have listed above has gone down hill. It has started to unravel. Morale at town hall and all town departments has plummeted. Staff are fearful and constantly walking on eggshells. They spend 90% of their time (this has been calculated) on unfounded complaints. They have been harassed and bullied. Town property has been damaged. Explosive packages have been sent to their private homes with a note “from Brayton Point friends”. They’ve screamed out car windows at me and told me I am “the worst thing to happen to Somerset”. They have pushed so many people away that no one wants to be involved anymore. Pretty soon, so many people will have walked away that the town will appear “healed” — when in fact it will be an illusion: people will be completely exhausted and burnt out.

“The rest of the town has suffered while the staff and volunteers have been forced to focus all of their energy on Brayton Point. Economic development opportunities have been lost. Investors have walked away. Potential investors have looked elsewhere. The past two years have done so much damage I am not sure it is reversible. This makes me incredibly sad.

“Civility has been lost in our town. Somerset is not the town I was raised in. It just is not. I have lost most of my hope over the past two years. The town is as divided as most have ever seen it. The same people that created the divide are blaming everyone else and also swooping in as heroes to try to “heal” the town.

“Anybody can hold the helm when the sea is calm. The true test is when you’re thrown into rough waters. We need our leaders to be strong and unbiased. We need them to uplift, not damage or harass. The past two years have been horrific for a lot of people.

“Mr. Smith — my biggest concern is that you’re the president of this group. This group is affiliated with everything I have listed above. As a selectman I feel that I have done literally everything in my jurisdiction and power that I could possibly do. I have tried to issue TWO C&D’s with no support from my colleagues. I have helped our staff and supported the dozens of tests performed. I have enabled the ZBA and planning boards to do their jobs. I also have LISTENED to hours and hours and days of complaints from the residents over two years. So have our staff. Unfortunately when the complainers do not get the answers that they want, they blame everyone for not listening. This couldn’t be further than the truth. Unfortunately doing everything I possibly can for the complainers is not enough for them. I continue to be attacked. The recent elimination of public input from meetings was simply to send a message that our board is not here to be interrogated. It has not been productive.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. That is exactly how the past two years have felt.

“One other thing about me is that I hate wasting time. I made the decision a year ago that I was not going to be seeking re-election in 2022. I have done every single thing I have set out to do as a selectman and more. I am very happy with what has been accomplished and feel that the town is in a better place. I have been anxiously anticipating this election to see how the cards would fall; I have had high hopes that the negativity and bashing would stop — it only seems to get worse, even after the election. This is a disgrace and very unfortunate for our town.

“I have decided that I want no part in the bullying. I want no part in the harassment and no part in tearing businesses down. I want no part in halting economic development out of spite. I want no part in the downfall of our community. And I want no part in the constant hate and venom that has continued to be spreading through our community.

“I hope you will prove me wrong Mr. Smith. The past year has not given me any faith in our leadership. It has only dragged everyone down.

“That being said, I am ready to graduate from this position. I am resigning effective immediately. I am passing the torch to you and to whoever will run next for my seat — which I know Kathy Souza has announced her candidacy very early for 2022 — I am giving her this opportunity to put her money where her mouth is and I am looking forward to seeing her fill my shoes if she is elected.

“Why waste time? I made my decision not to run a whole year ago, and I have some really big future plans that I would like to get a jump start on. Consider my seat a parting gift. For you, for Kathy, for everyone. I’m giving you what I hear SOBBP wants — but I will warn you, be careful what you wish for.

“This early departure will allow me to get started — and will allow Kathy or whoever else is up for the challenge to get started. Why waste time? Let’s go. There is only so much I can do — I am at my capacity.

“Somerset, I have absolutely loved serving you. The good the bad the ugly — it has been life-changing. I can only hope the town will move forward in the right direction and that the childish playground bullying stops. We have AMAZING staff here in town. We have GREAT residents. We have ALL the amenities we could ever ask for. I hope and pray that we retain every single one of them. We have worked so hard to get where we are today.

“Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity. I will see you around town.”

In wake of McNamara resignation, member of Save Our Bay Brayton Point announces run for spot

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jake Perry

    April 15, 2021 at 8:13 am

    This lady has class.

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