On July 21, 2016

Reckless, authoritarian act

Dear Editor,

The primary responsibility of elected officials is to the citizens. When Rutland’s Mayor Chris Louras single-handedly devised a plan with respect to bringing Syrian refugees to the Rutland area, he failed to consider the citizens he represents.

Vermonters are generous and welcoming. They deserve no less than equal consideration from elected officials in the form of transparency, full disclosure, and the opportunity to be heard when a major issue impacts their community. Mayor Louras has denied his constituents this basic right with his king-like command to place Syrian refugees in the Rutland area. Unfortunately, some members of the Board of Aldermen, based on the vote at the July 5 meeting, also fear hearing what the citizens have to say.

When no less than the president’s CIA Director John Brennan warns that the Syrian refugees present an opportunity for terrorists to gain access to the United States, then the very least Mayor Louras and the Aldermen should do, while working with the citizens, is take note of Bruce Lisman’s proposal.

Bruce Lisman has wisely advocated a moratorium on the refugee resettlement program until we can confirm that the refugees coming into our community are not dangerous. This makes sense—an open-minded, thoughtful approach to a difficult situation. It is crucial to understand all the implications of the Syrian refugee program before it is implemented. The fact that Mayor Louras and, ultimately, some Aldermen, are unwilling or unable to carry out their basic duties as elected officials is troubling in its recklessness.

Janine Seitz, Pawlet

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