Plymouth resident Sandy Pierce volunteered to resurrect the town’s newsletter in 2006 because she hoped it would get people involved in the community.
“I think people in our community need to get involved in our local government,” said Pierce, pointing out that voter turnout and attendance at public meetings has been historically low in Plymouth. “If you’re not going to do anything, don’t complain.”
She says she envisioned the newsletter, sent out quarterly, as a medium for residents and elected officials to open up dialogue on local issues outside of regular town meetings.
“I wanted to get people talking to each other,” she said. “I wanted to get them interested.”
But in November, just six issues into her stint as volunteer editor, Pierce quit. The newsletter hasn’t run since.
She says she quit because the town’s elected officials, for the most part, weren’t willing to contribute to the newsletter – by way of availing themselves for interviews or offering “state of the town” updates. She claims they also refused to answer taxpayers’ questions and concerns in print or allow public information, like the annual budget, to be published.
“People need to have a voice. All those things need to be in there,” said Pierce, a farmer and retail farm store owner on Pierce Road, located just of county Rt.16. “Otherwise it becomes a social calendar. I’m not a social secretary.”
Plymouth supervisor Jerry Kreiner, who ultimately had the final say on what went in and what didn’t, says the newsletter, funded by town tax dollars, was intended to cover community events, not political issues. Furthermore, he argues that the content was slanted toward Pierce’s own views.