RTM Disrespect Goes Against North’s Values

by Dan Adler

The head of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) committee is under heavy criticism for belittling comments that he made about the Attleboro schools.

In an edition of  “Up for Discussion,” on North TV earlier this month, RTM committee chairman Bob Nerz advocated against the change in town government. He backed up his argument by stating that he wouldn’t allow any of his children to go to school in Attleboro past middle school due to their low averages for standardized testing.

How preventing the town from moving to a mayor system and low standardized test scores relate is beyond me. Attleboro High School Principal, Bill Runey, responded by letter in which he wrote how he was “angered and appalled at such elitist remarks.” Growing up and being taught to not say elitist remarks like Nerz makes this case worse. Seeing leaders of our town behave and speak like this is appalling.

Nerz went on to criticize the immigrant population and Attleboro’s gateway city status by ridiculing the fact that it took them two applications to finally receive the gateway city status. He went on to accuse Attleboro of being a gateway to crime, drugs, and illegal immigrants. Nerz followed his up by saying  that Attleboro’s status as a gateway city is, “not something to be proud of.”

According to mass.gov, a gateway city is defined by having a population between 35,000 and 250,000, an average household income below the state average, and a rate of educational attainment of a bachelor’s degree or above that is below the state average. While not an ideal status, it gives the struggling population of a small city a chance to breathe and make it in the world.

Now not to defend Nerz’s rant, but he later mentioned that he “wanted only the best [for the town],” which is something we all can relate to and try to strive for within reason. His intentions are not what’s wrong here; what’s wrong was his way of going about it. There are many reasons to have a mayor or not, but that argument revolves around your town and not another town.

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