We’d hoped this time would be different.
But Electric Utility Board member Eric Schultz’s absence from June 14’s joint meeting between the EUB, Planning Commission and Gardner City Council smells like more of  the same old, same old.
Schultz, whom Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta had appointed to the board last week, is no stranger to City Hall. He served as a mayoral appointee to the council in 2008 and had a history of missing meetings. This past April, after
Schultz applied to be appointed to former council member Dan Thompson’s council seat, he withdrew his name from the pool of candidates, citing increased time commitments at a new job.
Gardner City Council member Kristy Harrison, acting on a concern voiced by a local resident, asked Schultz at last week’s council meeting whether EUB meeting attendance would be a problem. Schultz assured the governing body that he had a more manageable schedule and that absence would not be a problem.
We are very disappointed to see that, only a few days after giving the council and Gardner residents his assurances that he would be able to attend meetings, Schultz not only missed his first EUB meeting, but perhaps one of the most important meetings of the year.
Schultz, at last week’s council meeting, said the decision to serve on the board was one “near and dear to my heart,” due in large part to his experience working in the electric utilities field. However, his action – or, rather, inaction – makes it appear to Gardner residents as though his recent appointment may not be a high priority in his life at this time.
Similar concerns were voiced when former Gardner City Council member Mary Peters missed appearing at multiple council meetings toward the end of her time on the governing body. Instead opting to participate in the meeting via conference call, there were grumbles among those in the audience when it was obvious that Peters continued to be absent from important meetings among the council.
In both cases, whether those who serve this community are elected or appointed, there exists a duty to actively participate in those meetings that determine the course of our future. Especially in light of recent political turmoil locally, Gardner residents need to see officials in action who make promises and stick to them. A mere week and a half  separates Schultz’s promise to attend EUB meetings from his June 14 absence, which translates into a poor beginning to an already controversial appointment.
We urge Schultz to keep his word to the council and the people of Gardner. He owes it to the governing body that seated him, and he owes it to those served by the EUB.