Frustrating runaround over concert banners


As a member of the Stephen W. Manchester Post 62 of the American Legion, I have helped my wife, Beverly, for the past several years in the sale of food and drink items for the mostly Westbrook people who attended the concerts in the Riverbank Park during the Wednesday evenings of July and August.  My observation throughout the years has been that most Westbrook people are unaware of these events.  The advertising is not sufficient, and the city is not interested in changing the usual procedure. For example, Westbrook employees at the Community Center hire the bands and entertainment, and I have yet to meet anyone from the center who has visited the park to evaluate the entertainment or to estimate the size of the crowd.

On Feb. 23 and again on March 2 of 2015 I spoke to the Westbrook City Council about installing posts and a banner over Main Street in the area of the Dana Monument for the purpose of advertising the concerts at Riverbank Park. On both occasions the council voted unanimously to install the banners for this event and told me that the plan would be carried out in time for the upcoming concerts. It did not happen, nor was I notified why it did not happen.  The banner, which would (notify) commuters in the morning and evening trips through our city, is used in most cities and towns in our state, and the concerts would benefit from the commuters’ attendance.

Since no one in the Westbrook City Government bothered to contact me, I returned to the Westbrook City Council on May 23, 2016, to learn when the unanimous vote to install the banner would be carried out.  I was told that the answer would be forthcoming in the days ahead by Jerre Bryant, the administrative assistant to the mayor. After several weeks I went to Jerre, who had no definite answer but assured me that the vote would be honored.  Since I have lost my faith in what I hear from Westbrook politicians, I made it clear to others in city government that the people, who are short on good manners by failing to fulfill promises, would be mentioned in the American Journal. Soon afterward Jerre approached me in City Hall to tell me that he had bought two posts. Again I heard nothing more.

At this point I called Eric Dudley, the director of Westbrook Public Services, who told me that Jerre did not buy posts, because, if posts were bought, then he, Eric Dudley, would buy them, and he further said that the City Council had not voted to install a banner for the Concerts in the Park.  Eric did not attend any of the three meetings which I have stated in this article.  So, Eric, in your article regarding your frustration with Time Warner Cable, I too am frustrated with people who deliberately avoid the truth.

Robert E. Barton