Tiverton’s town council entered the COVID-19 shutdown under the leadership of a president and vice president whose history in town government is one of behind-the-scenes scheming and disregard for differing opinions. It hasn’t really been surprising, then, that President Patricia Hilton has made the most of “emergency” power.
Having (it seems) driven the town administrator out of his job, she orchestrated the surprise hiring of an interim town administrator with a history of working to thwart the will of the people in town (let alone lying about and slandering them on social media). With the stroke of a pen, she also rewrote the town’s home rule charter and state law because she didn’t like the probable outcome if Tiverton’s Budget Committee votes. Therefore, she issued an executive order on a Tuesday morning, with no warning to the rest of the council as required by town policy, in order to short-circuit the legal process.
What has been surprising, however, has been the supine response of most of Tiverton’s elected officials, who have failed to stand up for the rule of law or are aspiring tyrants themselves. Council members Joseph Perry, John Edwards (The Fifth), and Stephen Clarke, along with Budget Committee Chairman Jay Edwards, have failed to provide Tiverton with true representation and act as a guard against Hilton’s casual treatment of law and policy.