Letter: What people say on social media matters

The following comment was submitted to public comment for the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, June 22. It is reprinted here at the author’s request:

To the Editor:

June 2020 has ushered in a new era in Darien of see something say something. What has been made clear, is that here, in Darien it’s time to change the way we conduct our town’s business by requiring accountability from those in elected and appointed positions in our town government. In some cases, this may mean changing who conducts the town’s business.

As you know, this week, tweets made by former Police Commissioner Tom Joyce were brought to the attention of the Board of Selectmen and to the public. The result was his resignation. To be clear, these tweets were posted on social media and every member of the public had access to them. His account was not private. For those of us who were aware of his more recent tweets, we should have done the right thing and spoken up.

Members of our town government who serve as elected and appointed officials, have social media accounts. They are public accounts to which everyone has access. You will find posts on a variety of topics —personal or family matters, on a wide range of current event topics, political statements as well as town business. It is their right.

I will defend each person’s right to free speech and their right to tweet, post, say, what they believe and feel; whether or not I agree with them or whether or not I find it offensive.

We were reminded that what public officials say on social media matters. These are the people making decisions on our behalf. We need to trust them. We are all human, are not perfect and lash out in anger at times. We all say things we regret. However, residents should read for themselves and see if there’s a pattern that gives pause and question whether or not the people serving our town are able to do so representing our best interests.

I for one am grateful to Reed Barthold for speaking out and asking for the resignation of Tom Joyce. We all need to speak out more, which is why I’m writing this evening. What has been proven time and time again, when we see something and say something, we can make much needed change

Evonne Klein

The writer is a former first selectman and member of the Action Network of Darien Democrats.