Select Board Statement on Blue Ribbons

The Royalston Select Board on September 6 presided over a meeting that showed democracy at its finest. The board had received questions about the placing of numerous blue ribbons on the Common, and at this meeting heard from those who had placed the ribbons in support of law enforcement at all levels and from those concerned that this kind of messaging might be perceived very differently by others.

            The organizers asked the Royalston police chief about hanging the ribbons in mid-August, and he said he would refer the question to the Select Board. As chair, I intended to discuss the request at our August 16 meeting, even though the timing did not allow it to be included on the posted agenda. When we arrived at Town Hall, however, the ribbons were already in place. The board took no action that evening.

            Subsequently, we were contacted by other residents requesting formal discussion, so it was included it on the September 6 agenda. Board members agreed that if the organizers had applied for a permit as required by Royalston General Bylaws (Article X, Section 4), we would have granted it, but with an end date, probably for a two-week period beginning August 16. On September 6 we retroactively granted that permit, but through September 9 rather than the requested September 30.

            Why that end date? Because Royalston had already organized an old-timey Country Fair for September 10, and we wanted all visitors to the event to feel welcome and to enjoy Royalston warmth, hospitality, good will and fun. We wanted people to be talking about family, friends and fall bounty rather than very large national questions.

            The Select Board wishes to affirm our strong support and great respect for our local law enforcement personnel and our grateful appreciation of their work. We were told that members of our police department were moved and pleased by the ribbons, and we are glad of that. We expressed these sentiments at the September 6 meeting, a meeting at which democracy, civility and compromise prevailed.

            All the participants at that meeting left smiling and chatting about other matters.

            Democracy at work – beautiful.