Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman is taking heat for not being in town during Sandy. However, if one looks at the facts—which for any reporter, columnist or blogger should be a given—Glassman is being unfairly targeted. She simply got stranded visiting her son in Spain; stranded like millions of others who wanted to travel.
Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie wrote a blog piece with the headline, “Donde Estas, Mary? Simsbury First Selectman Vanishes. Releases Ignore Absence of Local Leader.” Pathetic and untruthful. Full disclosure: I worked closely with Mary Glassman when we we’re both senior staffers in the legislature. I’m usually not inclined to call out other commentators (unless they call me out first) but in this case, facts matter. It also matters that the widely read aggregate blog ctcapitolreport.com picked up the story thereby spreading the unfair criticism (the link is no longer posted on the site). Consider:
1. Glassman and her husband traveled to Spain Sunday, Oct. 21st to see their son who left the country back in August to spend a semester abroad. I’m not sure about their situation but when I left home for school at Syracuse my mom was missing me big time. I can only imagine what a mom who has a son go overseas feels (Glassman’s daughter now works in Cali). The couple had planned to go during the summer but her husband was pulled up with back surgery.
2. When Glassman learned of the magnitude of the storm, she tried to get a flight to Bradley. Every one of the flights from Madrid to Bradley was cancelled as were 19,000 other flights. Just like everyone else, she was stranded.
3. The Rennie entry was not only unfair, it was inaccurate on the facts. He wrote “…the town’s Deputy First Selectman alternated between explaining preparations and attending a Democratic rally with former President Bill Clinton in Waterbury.” Dead wrong. Deputy First Selectman John Hampton did not attend the Clinton rally. He was busy communicating with Glassman.
4. Glassman was constantly in touch (when stranded) with Hampton via telephone and email. She was on top of the situation.
5. The very fact that Hampton handled things in Glassman’s absence is a credit to the procedures Glassman put in place for just such emergencies.
6. Unless she’s not to leave town, ever, life happens and sometimes puts us in a situation in which we would rather not be. Glassman is a fine first selectman, a caring and hardworking person that shouldn’t be smeared.
Rennie never called Glassman to get the facts…yes, the FACTS. They count.