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Leone says Christiana used his letter without attribution

UPDATED: John D. Leone, a Precinct 8 Town Meeting member who was meeting moderator from 2007 until his election loss to Greg Christiana on April 2, sent the following letter to a variety of town officials on April 17. It has been published after Greg Christiana responded. Leone has responded to Christiana's response (see below).

John Leone, 2022John Leone

Dear Mr. Moderator:

I realize that I have been remiss in not reaching out to you following the results of the election. You won a well-fought campaign by an extremely close margin of victory.  Congratulations. I, as well as the town, look forward to the new and exciting changes that you promised to bring to the moderator’s chair, as well as the increase in transparency in all aspects of the position, from the speakers’ queue to how you will handle appointments. 

 As you must realize, I remain available to discuss the position and the actual responsibilities of the position with you.  I had not reached out to you as I did not want to be seen as attempting to impose any of the old ways of doing things upon your fresh slate. 

But, if you do want to discuss the rationale for the way that I conducted the meeting or any other aspect of the position feel free to contact me.

'Shock, surprise'

While I understand that imitation is the highest form of flattery, you can only imagine my shock and surprise when I opened your “moderator’s cover letter” and saw my moderator’s cover letter and materials. (See this link >>)

Sir, you took my work product, changed half a dozen words and signed your name to it without any attribution! I had worked on and refined that letter over the course of several years to make it as concise and informative for the Town Meeting members as possible.   

I also wrote the “Town Meeting Questions and Answers” guide.  The other attachments, the copy of Town Meeting Time pages and the Parliamentary Guide, which I had drafted to fit Arlington bylaws, I had properly attributed to their source. 

Sir, you foisted my work product off as your own. One of the lessons that we teach our children from middle school on is that plagiarism is not allowed.  Your actions in this instance are totally unacceptable and does not stand up to your pledge of transparency. Shame on you.    

Greg, I will give you one piece of unsolicited advice. Do not underestimate the intelligence of the Town Meeting members, as you clearly did in this instance.  They are a wise group of dedicated individuals who are volunteering their time, energy and knowledge to this town that we all love.  You do not want to cross them, as they can be an unforgiving lot with long memories.

I look forward to the upcoming Town Meeting which unfortunately will be virtual.

Leone thanks Christiana

April 21, 2022 

Dear Mr. Moderator and Town Meeting members: 

       Thank you for your letter of April 21, 2022, acknowledging the provenance of the materials that were distributed through the TMM email list to the town.  It is gratifying to receive recognition and acknowledgement.  As you are becoming aware the Moderator’s position is a very demanding and time consuming one.  Most of the work and time expended is unseen and unacknowledged.  But acknowledgement is not the reason that my predecessor, Mr. Worden, nor I, were moderator. We did so was to serve the town in order to preserve our Town Meeting form of self-governance. I believe that is also the reason that you choose to serve.        

  As you and I discussed and I believe that we agree upon, what became evident during this election cycle and before is the unfortunate level of adversarial civil discourse that has permeated our town’s politics. There should exist no distinction between the so called “old Arlington” and “new Arlington,” the “progressives” or “conservatives,” or other such groups.

 We must all put those divisive labels and camps aside and strive to do simply what is best for the Town of Arlington if we truly wish to preserve it as a town. Everyone, in all of these partisan camps has value to contribute and that value should be welcomed by all.  I fear that if we cannot do so then we will all be the worse off and the town will suffer.        

  As I previously stated I remain available to discuss the moderator’s position and responsibilities of the position with you.   

I look forward to the upcoming Town Meeting. 

Town Meeting logo
Town Meeting information at town website

This letter was published Thursday, April 21, 2022.

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