Marianne Corona has been a member of Middlefield's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency for four decades.
But when the commission meets tonight for its regularly scheduled meeting, Corona will be forced to attend the meeting as a member of the public after town officials decided last week not to reappoint her to her seat on the commission, of which she served as vice chairman.
While no specific reason for the decision was given, Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw did send Corona a letter last month informing her that he did not intend to reappoint her to the commission which serves to protect and preserve wetlands in the town.
At the Jan. 7 Board of Selectmen meeting, Corona questioned Brayshaw about his decision and asked that he provide her with his reason for not reappointing her.
"It's the prerogative of the administration to appoint people. It's that simple," he said.
Corona, in her own words, had been a very active member of the commission, serving in a staff capacity and had even recently completed wetlands training that no other commission member had.
"I've spent decades in the wetlands world," Corona said. "I feel it's only fair to come and ask you to tell me why I would receive this kind of letter, and for what reasons."
While Brayshaw would not provide Corona with a reason for his decision, several members of the public at the meeting spoke on her behalf.
"She's irritating, at times, very persistent, ornery but I think we need that," said James Brown, who sat on the commission with Corona for the past four years.
Brown, who wrote a letter to selectmen urging them to reappoint Corona, said no other members were as dedicated to the role as she.
"It's hard to get volunteers to serve on boards and commissions and when you get someone that's willing to still stick in there, I think that should carry a certain amount of weight," said resident Seb Aresco.
While Brayshaw's letter left open the possibility that Corona could be nominated by either of the town's two other selectmen, Dave Burgess asked the board to delay the approval of appointments to give him more time to talk to members of the Democratic Town Committee about nominating Corona, who is an unaffiliated voter.
"She's done an excellent job and she does her homework," Burgess said, calling Corona "irreplaceable."
"She's like a watchdog for the community. I just can't make arbitrary nominations," he said.
Following several comments, including those by Corona, that she was able to provide the commission with legal guidance, resident David Lowry said he didn't think the commission should lean on her for legal advice.
"I think that's the role of counsel," he said.
Lowry also called Corona's behavior on an ad-hoc committee that both were part of, "abhorrent"
Corona was further disturbed that the list of appointments had not been made available prior to Jan. 7, the same day as the meeting.
"There's been no notice anywhere," Corona said. "It's not a healthy process."
Selectmen eventually approved the list of appointments, unanimously.
The IWWA will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the Middlefield Community Center.