It has to be one or the other

Two weeks ago, when the School Committee was having an important discussion about the bullying issue and the school budget for the coming year, everyone’s attention was rapt and keen, and there was a full round of debate going on when Representative Steve Smith got up from his chair, made a 180 degree turn and walked out of the meeting.

He left the high school, got into his car, and drove down Broadway to city hall, where a debate on the state’s expanded gambling bill was taking place inside the common council chamber.

What is wrong with this scenario?

What does it say about the kind of job Rep. Smith is trying to do?

You cannot be in two places at the same time unless you are a science fiction character capable of cutting yourself in half and with your brain able to remain functioning in such a situation.

Rep. Smith obviously is not a science fiction character.

He is our state representative trying to hold two positions at the same time – that of school committeeman and of state rep.

The events of two weeks ago prove that Rep. Smith cannot be in two places at the same time.

If he means to do the very best job that he can for the people of this city, he should give up one of his two elected positions.

This would be the common sense, the fair thing to do.

And frankly, Rep. Smith knows he cannot do a good job in both positions because they take so much time individually – just ask him.

“I’m so busy on the Hill you can’t believe it,” he told me recently.

The mayor of Haverhill, a colleague of Smith’s in the House, was recently forced to resign his House seat because the feeling was that you can only give of yourself to one master – and that having two masters doesn’t work.

In other words, you can’t be the mayor of Haverhill and also be Haverhill’s representative on Beacon Hill.

Neither can you be a member of the school committee in Everett and also represent Everett as its representative on Beacon Hill.

By leaving the school committee debate on bullying and the budget to attend a common council meeting on expanded gambling, Smith showed that he has two masters and cannot serve either of them full time.

In addition, the expanded gambling debate is a moot question for Everett residents as the House has already passed its bill and the Senate is now readying to debate it.

Smith must choose one position over the other.

This would be the fair thing to do.

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