Rewiring Door Brings Out Administrator's Angry Side
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 9, 2003
AYER, MASSACHUSETTS--When the Ayer Commission on Disabilities arrived at the Town Hall last October 10 for what they thought was a regularly scheduled meeting, they found that the automatic door for the only accessible entrance had been locked.
For many people this would be a significant barrier. But commission member James Williams simply took it upon himself to rewire the door's control panel so the others could enter the building.
According to Williams, when he later phoned Town Administrator Anita Hegarty to complain about the entrance being locked -- in violation of state laws -- Hegarty yelled at him, accused him of destroying the door, and threatened to have him pay up to $3,000 to have it repaired. She later learned the door had not been damaged.
Tuesday night, the town's selectmen voted unanimously to dismiss a complaint Williams went on to file against Hegarty, but told Hegarty to come up with a way to visibly post meetings times so people can see when the Town Hall is closed.
But it turns out that the front door was open, or at least was not locked. In a moment somewhat reminiscent of Bill Clinton's "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is", Town Counsel Mark Reich said that just because the front door was "unlocked" does not mean the building was "open to the public".
The door incident is just one of a series of problems between the town and its citizens with disabilities according to the Lowell Sun.