DERBY, VT – A Derby resident is seeking a public apology from Brian Smith, Chair of the Derby Select Board, for what she considers "false, destructive, and defamatory" comments made to her and about her by Smith.
Glenda Nye, through her attorney Gertrude Miller, sent a letter to Smith and all board members asking for a public apology to run in all local newspapers for seven consecutive publications, in the form of an ad that is 8 inches by 6 inches, addressing what was said and that he is sincerely sorry. The letter also says the ad needs to say, "Paid for by Brian Smith.” A letter to the editor would not be acceptable.
Nye also wants a verbal public apology.
“Nye is a respected professional who spent years serving this state in her profession and building a positive reputation,” Miller wrote. “Nye learned that you have engaged in making false, destructive and defamatory statements about her.”
When the controversy of the proposed Derby Line project was erupting in Derby, Smith was overheard after the March 19 meeting calling resident Glenda Nye a “nut case” after she talked about why she was opposed to the project and read information from a doctor on the issue.
Smith has not officially confirmed that he made the statement, but at a subsequent select board meeting, Nye again had some heated exchanges with the board regarding the wind project and the way meetings are handled. Nye said to Smith that she had heard he called her a "nut case." Smith responded, “Well, if the shoe fits.”
“I will see you in court,” Nye responded.
Miller notes in the letter that the media covered the meeting where the statement was made and therefore thousands of people likely know about it.
“It is also my expert legal opinion that if Ms. Nye chose to file suit against you, she would likely prevail,” Miller wrote.
In addition to the public apology, Nye asks Smith to immediately “cease and desist making false statements” about her.
Select board member Karen Jenne brought up the letter at Monday's board meeting and read the first paragraph.
Before the letter was brought up under New Business, Smith said he wanted to discuss something in executive session, without saying exactly why. Select board member Beula-Jean Shattuck objected saying that if it was in regards to the letter from the attorney, that was not an issue for executive session, and it was not a board issue.
Smith agreed, but he told Jenne that she had made a mistake by reading part of the letter publicly, and he had no comment on it. Smith has also contacted an attorney.
Resident Vicki Farrand-Lewis wanted assurance that town money was not going to be used for Smith with this issue. He said it would not.
Nye said Tuesday that Smith has asked for more time to resolve the issue, and Nye said she doesn’t object.
The letter had also asked that an agenda item be named public apology to Glenda Nye from Smith for the June 11 meeting, but it was not an agenda item.