Editorial: An abuse of power by the Snowmass mayor | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: An abuse of power by the Snowmass mayor

Snowmass Village Mayor Bill Boineau’s decision to put the muzzle on Krabloonik critics at Monday night’s Town Council meeting crossed the line of good governance and leadership. And it raised legitimate questions as to whether Boineau has a conflict of interest in the matter.

Yes, Krabloonik foes have long been adamant and vocal about their disdain for how the dogsledding operation is run. But their claims of dog abuse are not hollow, as the evidence they have brought to light has shown repeatedly.

About 15 people showed up at Monday night’s Town Council meeting to express their latest concerns about Krabloonik, where the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office seized eight dogs and other evidence Thursday as part of its investigation into allegations of animal abuse.

But some 90 minutes into the meeting, Boineau put the clamps on the Krabloonik critics, refusing to allow them to speak during the public-comment portion of session.

Boineau later told a reporter that he silenced the individuals because they would be repeating claims they’d made at previous Town Council meetings and would be staging a “dog and pony show” in an attempt to influence the investigation.

What an appalling statement, especially when it came from a man who has been friendly with Krabloonik’s owner, Dan MacEachen, for years and who also happens to live in close proximity to the facility.

And by using his pulpit to hush the Krabloonik critics, the Snowmass mayor — if we’re to employ his logic for this mind-boggling decision — was effectively influencing the investigation himself. This flagrant abuse of power demonstrates that Boineau has lost sight of his responsibilities as the elected leader of Snowmass: First, he works for the people who elected him. And second, public-comment sessions in government meetings are an essential part of democracy.

Boineau should be ashamed of himself. His look-the-other-way leadership in the face of a community crisis smacks of good-ol’-boy-type governance. Snowmass deserves better.