To the Editor:

I read with some amusement Paul Lavoie’s letter to The Trumbull Times last week complaining, “Attempts to tarnish Herbst’s career are wrong” and attributing such to “a few petty people.” I notice that Mr. Lavoie has written previously to the paper in support of the Herbst family and town Republican party. It is not unreasonable, as was the case with David Rutigliano’s abrupt exit from the Board of Finance shortly after re-election, to ask questions in such matters, including why Mr. Herbst is retiring mid-year rather than to complete the remainder of the year in his current position or why he did not retire with the end of the last school year. Similarly, it is not unreasonable to ask various other questions about Michael Herbst’s service and work or regarding Timothy Herbst’s political machinations and whether such are appropriate or ethical. It is also not unreasonable to ask why Deborah Herbst would have at one point felt it not appropriate to assume the Board of Education chairmanship yet under similar circumstances later find it proper to do so.

The lesson of the fallout from the bombastic façade and in-your-face mentality seen most recently on the national stage with Chris Christie should not be lost in Trumbull. It is vital to a democratic society to continue to ask questions, especially with those who so combatively seek to quiet any dissent (e.g. “Put up or shut up” approach to discourse), without having to face charges of being petty. Michael Herbst had a job in the Trumbull school system for 37-plus years that included compensation he obviously found acceptable and a myriad of benefits and perks associated with his employment. It was expected and required that he comport himself with dignity and earn the respect of others in that position. That he will now reportedly receive the pension amount of $102,000 per year is indication enough of the town’s appreciation for his services.

Ralph Balducci