Councilman’s Facebook post draws libel threat

“…Christopher J. O’Brien, a first-term councilman who represents the town’s third district, wrote a lengthy explanation of the town’s budget proposals and posted it on Facebook, using the Web site’s “notes” feature, hours before a public hearing on the budget May 19.

In the note, he criticized the school board for not asking its unions to accept a wage freeze. All of the town’s unions, except for those associated with the school system, agreed to forgo wage increases for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

O’Brien attributed quotes to three members of the board, which an attorney said he made up to besmirch their reputations.

“The board is shocked that you would include comments in quotation marks and attribute them to individual members without verifying if each member made such a statement,” according to a letter the board’s attorney, Craig S. Meuser of Avon, wrote to O’Brien.

In the letter, dated June 10, Meuser wrote the board does not plan to file a lawsuit “at this time.” However, he demands that O’Brien remove the posting and retract five of his statements.”

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