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Mayor Accuses Councilor of 'Political Grandstanding' on Landfill Plan

Councilor Jonathan Weydt says an agreement should not have been signed without input from his constituents.

Mayor Kevin Dumas on Wednesday criticized an  written this week by City Councilor Jonathan Weydt in which he wrote that "Attleboro residents have been sold out" in a 2009 agreement on the proposed Attleboro Landfill capping project between the city and the soil/sediment management firm EndCap Technology.

Dumas wrote in an email to Patch that Weydt was committing an act of "political grandstanding." The councilor responded that he was not grandstanding, but rather properly representing his constituents.

The agreement signed by Dumas and EndCap President Kurt Schulte in July 2009 details the route trucks would take through Wards 3 and 4 in Attleboro on their way out of the landfill on Peckham Street after delivering "slightly contaminated material" to the site. In exchange, EndCap would pay the city 25 cents per ton of delivered material.

Approximately 35 trucks per day would make deliveries Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for three to four years. The trucks would access the landfill through a route mostly going through Norton (which EndCap proposes to compensate with the same fee it promises Attleboro) and touching on Taunton (which EndCap has not proposed to compensate, but the city is demanding $1 per ton). The plan and was met with official criticism from the governments of Taunton and Norton this week in letters to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Weydt, who was elected last year to his first term as the City Council's Ward 4 representative, wrote this week on Patch, "I am appalled that my neighbors and friends, particularly those living along the proposed truck route, have had no input or choice but to accept this [plan]." He wrote that Attleboro residents had been sold out by the proposal.

In his email to Patch, Dumas wrote that he was disappointed with Weydt's characterization of the plan because he had not made it when the councilor met with him privately last week.

"If Councilor Weydt now feels that my efforts to get this illegal landfill properly capped and monitored were somehow selling out the city, then perhaps he should come forward with a financial proposal that gets the landfill capped sooner and without taxpayer dollars," Dumas wrote. "Political grandstanding and doing nothing should not be the only options for the citizens of Ward 4."

Weydt is not backing down. After Patch showed him the email from Dumas, the councilor responded that he was not grandstanding, but rather that he was informing the residents about how their daily lives would be affected by an agreement he says they should have had input on before it was signed.

"That's not grandstanding, that's a part of representation," Weydt wrote in an email to Patch.

He continued, "My problem lies with the fact that we, as residents of Ward 4, were never involved in these decisions before they became an agreement. We demand to be given the facts about how this could happen and why it happened. I am very shocked and dumbfounded that I was never briefed on this agreement prior to or after taking office. It's certainly an issue that warrants some overview by a freshman councilor." 

Meanwhile, the agreement could soon be tossed or at least modified. Dumas submitted a letter last week to EndCap attorney Richard Nylen stating the agreement was no longer valid because the Massachusetts DEP had not approved it and there was no agreement between the firm and the town of Norton. Nylen responded in a letter submitted Tuesday that he "disagrees strongly" with Dumas' legal conclusion, but he and his client are willing to meet with city officials "to discuss the most appropriate measures to close this landfill in an efficient and effective matter."

Nylen told Patch in an interview on Tuesday that modifying the agreement was a possibility.

"We want to work with the city so that we can close this illegal landfill in an appropriate amount of time," Nylen said.

The Massachusetts DEP issued an enforcement order for the landfill to be capped in the 1990s. A portion of the site has been capped, but this needs to happen to the remainder of the landfill. Attleboro Landfill owner Albert Dumont says he does not have the money to do this. EndCap is willing to cover the cost on the condition it be allowed to use 650,000 cubic yards of "slightly contaminated material" to reshape the landfill prior to the capping. The material would come from clients that hire EndCap to get rid of their waste.

Some people have suggested that the landfill could be reshaped without the use of contaminated material, or at least with a lesser amount than proposed. Also, local and state officials, including Dumas, say it should be determined whether the material could be delivered by train, rather than by truck, to lessen the impact on roads in the affected communities. EndCap said it would provide a detailed analysis of this option during the project comment period, which has been extended from a deadline of Sept. 4 to Sept. 28.

Those wishing to submit comments on the project should send them to Schulte of EndCap at kschulte@endcaptech.com and to Mark Dakers of the Massachusetts DEP at Mark.Dakers@state.ma.us.

Attached to this article are copies of the 2009 agreement between the city of Attleboro and EndCap Technology, letters about the agreement from Mayor Kevin Dumas and EndCap attorney Richard Nylen, emails to Patch about the project from Dumas and City Councilor Jonathan Weydt and the town of Norton's comment letter on the project to the Massachusetts DEP.

Editor's Note, Aug. 31: The original version of this article stated the plan calls for trucks making deliveries Monday through Friday. They would actual be moving Monday through Saturday. The correction has been made above.

Sarah August 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Now this is the kind of article I have been waiting for. Informative, factual, and with documentation to back it up. Frank Cook and Mayor Dumas must be whipped into quite a tizzy on this! Nice Job Jonathan Weydt! (And you too JF with your fine writing skills!) Look up "political grandstanding" in the dictionary and there is a picture of Kevin Dumas hugging Frank Cook (and Peter Blais is Photo bombing). This is a classic case of the Pot calling the Kettle black. However, some good may come out of Jonathans actions. Nothing of worth EVER comes out of Kevin or Frank.
Alice Allard August 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Now Jonathan needs to watch his back. Once you get on Kevin's "hate" list, he will do everything in his power to make your life miserable. He is so vindictive that if you do anything that isn't HIS way he will set his sights on you. I was one who "made him mad" and he let me know then proceeded to sabotage my efforts to do things within the city. And yes, Frank Cook is his biggest YES man. A while back when Frank was running for re-election, Kevin wrote a piece stating how much Frank meant to him and that he thought of him like a father. Another person in Kevin's pocket. Let's see, he has Frank Cook, Barry LaCasse, Peter Blais and Brian Kirby. These are just the ones that I know for fact. In all my years I have only seen one other councilor stand up to Kevin for the people and that is Councilor Conti. If we had more elected people like Jonathan and Rick, then we would be less corrupt and have less "backroom" deals. Backroom meaning the area where the councilors go when they are not sitting out in view of the public. Get rid of KD, BL and in election time get rid of those who only work for "The Mayor." Maybe, just maybe Jonathan didn't "tell" the Mayor his thoughts on the landfill in their "private" meeting was because Jonathan knew that this was not something to be done in "private" but needed to be done in view of those who elected him. In "private" only means another way for KD to make you do HIS bidding. Stop whining KD and be a man...admit you were wrong!!
Ken Tenglin August 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I am proud to have Jonathan Weydt as my councilor in ward 4. Thanks for doing the job we elected you to do. I hope our fellow citizens will vote in more councilors like Jonathan and Richard Conti so that our voices can be heard and not suppressed by Cook and others on the council. Keep up the good work for your constituents in our city.
Lisa Marie Shea August 30, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Where was Councilor Weydt when the public hearing was held? I was there he wasn't. This is grandstanding at its best. A freshman councilor can't be briefed on all issues that went years before he came on. He could however have researched the issue being a Ward 4 resident. Personally I am not proud of him and I wouldn't even call him hes rude and arrogant and is aligned with some very questionable characters.
Andy Heller August 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Just a minor correction: Photo Credit for the photo on the right side of the panel (Mayor Dumas) goes to Andy Heller, owner/operator of Heller Photography in Attleboro.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Thank you for the correction.
Roxanne Houghton August 30, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Lisa Marie I am a resident of Ward 4 and just read your comment about Ward 4 Rep, Jonathan Weydt. I must admit that it made me a bit unconfortable to read that he is aligned with "Questionable characters". When I think of a "questionable characters", my thoughts quickly turn to Mafia types, drug dealers, rapists, murderers, and elder abusers. Are these types of people what you are talking about as Mr. Weydt's "alignments"? We in Ward 4 certainly have a right to know. Is your accusation in such a direction, or do you just mean that Mr. Weydt is aligned with people that may have different views on political issues, which is the case in every democracy? If you want to make an accusation about "questionable characters" I think that you should clarify, as you have made me nervous..........
Sarah August 30, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Lisa, I am sorry, but have you ever even met Jonathan? Rude and arrogant is the polar opposite of how he conducts himself. Wait.. as you state "A freshman councilor can't be briefed on all issues that went years before he came on. He could however have researched the issue being a Ward 4 resident" So do you hold Jeremy Denlea to the same standard for things that happen in Ward 5? He didnt even LIVE IN ATTLEBORO in 2009!!! Also, when was the public hearing on this? I want a date. How many people came? Give us some facts. I am a ward 4 resident who is just now finding out about this (and I have lived here for 15 years). Just as you state, not everyone can keep up on every thing that happens in this city, you and me included.
Pietro Fiamma August 30, 2012 at 07:40 PM
no comments about the dirty soil being trucked in? from one super fund cleanup to another...
Cathryn G August 31, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, your "m.o."it is obviously becoming clear to the citizens... Attack (and ruin) anyone who disagree. I mean how dare they right? I think it is time to start looking for a new job opportunity, Don't you? Councilor Weydt, watch your back, your next...
Gretchen Robinson August 31, 2012 at 03:10 AM
lets just get beyond personalities and go beyond local fights. Let's get the job done. Attleboro gets to mired in local issues and misses the bigger picture. http://www.wgbhnews.org/post/digging-massachusetts-brownfields
Wayne Lacroix September 01, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Why did other councilors who have been around keep Jonathan out of the loop? He is the ward councilor. Sounds like something fishy. --Who knew what ,when did they Know it and why was it keep secret? OOooooooo
Wayne Lacroix September 01, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Who knew what ,when did they Know it and why was it keep secret? Scandal
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) September 01, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I uploaded the letter from the city of Taunton.
Adam Tellier September 02, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Why must people, when anything controversial comes up, automatically attack people's personalities. Johnathan Weydt, in my opinion, is not arrogant, and Mayor Dumas is not someone who "destroys anyone who gets in his way." seriously and frankly, that's rather immature for everyone to make such accusations, unless you are able to back it up with factual information, why make the claim? Did you ever think that Frank Cook and the mayor worked together on a project and that is why Frank Cook votes in favor of it? City councilors are elected to be advocates for their constituents, meaning vote in favor of what they feel would best suite the needs for their constituents. That is why councilors vote the way they do. Is voting yea wrong, when it would be beneficiary the people of Attleboro? The simple answer is no.
Carol September 02, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I really feel bad for Johnathan. He is a very nice person and does take care of the concerns of Ward 4. I also agree strongly about "the loop". It's all just sickening.
Dolly September 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Amen sister! If you tell the kid anything prior to the discussion my guess is you won't get the information you want. Kudo's to Jonathan Weydt for representing the Ward and the City.
Dolly September 03, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Jonathan Weydt didn't need to be there! He has more information than anyone that attended that meeting because he did a good job and researched beyond what was shoved down oops what you were told.
Dolly September 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Go back to high school. Councilors are supposed to vote the way their constituents feel is right..not what they feel is right. The votes should be the will of the people.
Adam Tellier September 03, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Dolly, Its funny because I am in high school, junior actually. You may think that I am misinformed and do not quite know what I am talking in politics. If you did assume that, you are terribly mistaken. Councilors are supposed to do what is right to the citizens. I am not challenging your political knowledge, but you also should not challenge mine. This is not a personal matter, and it should not be made into one.
Lyin Ryan September 10, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Just wondering..... it is my understanding that 2 other city councilors live on Holden Street which is on the truck route. One of those councilors was going to move away because of the traffic and his daughter could not ride her bike. Seems to me he would be screaming the loudest over this. I wonder why neither of them have been involved, let alone outraged that LOTS more trucks, and possibly contaminated trucks will be added to the problem on Holden Street. Thank you Johnathan and Sarah!
GiGi Grace September 11, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Besides Brian Kirby who else on the council lives on Holden Street? Kirby's silence implies to me that he knew about the agreement from 2009. Pleasant, Starkey, Holden and North Main streets are in Ward 3. Why isn't Frank Cook doing more? Maybe we should be reviewing the campaign finance reports from 2009 until now.
Carol September 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Interesting! I seem to remember someone complaining about their child not being able to ride their bike on that Street because of the traffic.
Jerry Chase September 11, 2012 at 07:18 PM
If the Commonwealth really cared about the environment, the local quality of life, and recognized the narrow road that is Pike Avenue, it would see to it that the material was shipped by RAIL The tracks are right there! Secondly, I find it heartening for certain writers here praising genuinely excellent city councilors Weydt and Conti, and justly criticizing the "mayor's lackeys" on the Council: Cook, Kirby, & Blais. To be sure, we need more of the former and less of the latter. The problem is getting the good ones re-elected. All can be sure that the current mayor does things politically to sabatoge any and all independent thinkers with backbone and courage.
Jerry Chase September 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM
"Why isn't Frank Cook doing more?" Simple: he's re-elected because of a carefully-crafted "image" by the voters in Ward Three . . . . even though all he does is work for the mayor. Goofy, eh?

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