Anonymous Complaints Leave Town’s Hands Tied

            In what could go down as the shortest Board of Selectmen public meeting in the history of the town, Mattapoisett’s selectmen met for just about five minutes on September 15 to discuss a complaint their office had received.

            Well, discuss may be a stretch; the board actually didn’t discuss the complaint or the alleged infraction in any detail, instead Chairman Paul Silva emphasized the importance of openness. “We cannot discuss the matter because the person didn’t leave their name,” he said.

            When the town was crafting its return to opening businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the selectmen considered what to do if complaints were lodged against businesses that were not complying with the wearing of masks and distancing. At that time they agreed that any complaints from the public would have to include the source’s name and contact information – anonymous complaints could not be followed-up. They concluded that it was unfair to the business in question to investigate complaints otherwise.

            “The complaint is for a restaurant, (about) a worker not wearing a mask and maybe someone getting takeout not wearing a mask,” Silva said. He confirmed that the rule regarding restaurant workers is that they must wear a mask at all times and that customers waiting for food or to be seated must wear a mask.

            “Really, anyone making a complaint about anything should leave their name and address,” Silva stated.

            Silva then announced that the board would be adjourning and going into Executive Session regarding a legal matter.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, at 6:30 pm.

Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

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