Confrontational Signs Cause Stir in Brookfield, Massachusetts - NECN


The latest news from around the state

Confrontational Signs Cause Stir in Brookfield, Massachusetts



    Controversial Signs Debated in Town

    A selectman in Brookfield, Massachusetts, is upset about an advisory committee chairman using a sign to display his thoughts on other town officials.

    (Published Thursday, March 9, 2017)

    A sign along Route 9 is causing political rift in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

    "We challenged where he lived," said Selectman Clarence Snyder when describing how the tension between him and Advisory Committee Chairman John David Holdcraft started.

    In 2009, Holdcraft was accused of being a resident of Sturbridge, but that turned out to be untrue.

    "I asked that question," said Snyder. "It rolled up to have a formal hearing where his neighbors came and said he lives here."

    Since that hearing, Snyder said Holdcraft has been using a double-sided yellow sign across from Brookfield Elementary School to display his thoughts regarding town officials.

    "If you don't agree with David, you go on the sign," said Snyder.

    Highway Superintendent Herbert Chaffee said he's been on the sign before.

    "Many of times," he said.

    When asked how being on the sign made him feel, Chaffee said, "very unhappy."

    He's now filed a complaint with the town selectmen.

    "There's an ongoing issue right now that I cannot talk about," said Chaffee.

    According to Snyder, the town's attorney says the sign is a form of free speech.

    "It's protected by the first amendment," said Snyder.

    At a meeting on Tuesday, Snyder filed a motion to suspend Holdraft for "appalling" behavior that took place at a meeting in December. During the meeting, Holdcraft put a garbage can on top of a table and threw out a letter he was given by Snyder.

    That letter from Snyder alleged that Holdcraft creates a "hostile work environment."

    Snyder filed a motion on Tuesday to suspend Holdcraft, but Selectmen Linda Lincoln and Stephen Comtois voted in opposition.

    Instead of suspension, Holdcraft will be given a written warning.

    Get the latest from necn anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android