Hadley Select Boardman David J. Fill II responds to Mieczkowski comments and Instagram posts.
By Will Meyer
Current Hadley Planning Board member John Mieczkowski has been in the hot seat for his March 5th comments when he told a business owner of Indian heritage not to bring camels to the next meeting. When confronted, he said “Show me where this is racist,” according to The Gazette. He added, “I have no intent to be a bigot, a racist, a sexist or whatever.”
Mieczkowski, a former member of the Hadley Select Board, who was voted off in 2002 has ran for Select Board in every election since. He is running for both the Select Board and Planning Board on April 9th.
During the controversy, Select Board member Molly Keegan spoke out against Mieczkowski’s comments, which she condemned as “completely inappropriate.” She also called out the rest of the Planning Board for their “silence” on the issue.
Hadley residents have long been calling out racism stemming from town departments and government. It was Hadley residents who initially took to Facebook to air Mieczkowski’s comments, and who spotted a racist meme on the Hadley Police Department’s page last year.
Another member of the Select Board, however, hasn’t been been subject to the same scrutiny. Hadley native David J. Fill II won an election last April for a vacant seat and is running for re-election on April 9th.
Fill left Hadley for the Air Force and served in Afghanistan. Since returning from the war, he has worked as “a Federal Agent for the United States Department of Homeland Security serving as a Team Leader on missions all over the world helping to keep us safe at home,” according to his 2018 campaign website accessed via the WayBack Machine. His website now says he works as a “Federal Law Enforcement Officer.” When asked by The Shoestring about this discrepancy, he said the language hadn’t been approved by DHS lawyers as per their policy. Additionally, Fill provides logistics, sales, and support procuring and managing private jets for corporations, executives, and “sensitive government clients” through his business Fill Aerospace Solutions. He also hosts a podcast about aviation.
On September 11th, 2017, Fill posted on Instagram, reminding his followers to “Never forget what today represents.” The picture conveyed an illustrated eagle in front of a cartoon American flag. Underneath was a military landing pad with the words “payback is a bitch!”. When asked by The Shoestring what he meant by “payback is a bitch!,” he said: “In 2017? Hmmm. I’d have to go back and look at it, I don’t know. I can tell as someone who was in the military and someone who fought over in Afghanistan and deployed overseas, when our country is attacked, it doesn’t matter who it is, you defend yourselves.”
Fill’s wife Brandi Fill, also an Air Force veteran, posted a picture of an elaborate yard sign in 2017. In addition to both American and Confederate flags, the display contained yard signs (“Trump Pence ‘16” and “Hillary for Prison 2016”) and depicted a fisherman luring the white house over Hillary Clinton’s head, held with a fishing rod, with the caption “OOO YOU ALMOST HAD IT.” Brandi Fill’s caption for the photo said: “Awesome #hillaryforprison #trumpismypresident w/ @iflywhatevr [David Fill’s handle] #obx.” Fill “liked” the photo.
When asked by The Shoestring if the Confederate flag was a symbol he endorsed, he said: “No. You won’t see a Confederate flag anywhere that I have. I don’t have a Confederate flag at my house and I don’t have a confederate anywhere else.”
Fill declined to comment on Mieczkowski’s “camel” comment, telling The Shoestring “the voters can decide on the 9th whether his apology was sufficient or not I don’t have anything else to say about that.”