New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was much more willing to answer questions about the missing Ernestina wood during his weekly radio appearance on my Wednesday program than he was two weeks ago.

The mayor has a habit of becoming easily annoyed when the subject matter is something he'd rather avoid, and it was clear two weeks ago that he did not want to discuss it. But I pursued it anyway because that is my job.

Mitchell seemed much more resigned to the topic this week and, in fact, welcomed my questions. Mitchell can be thin-skinned at times and does not take criticism very well.

Mitchell 5-16

I think the mayor has come to understand that a lot of people are upset about the missing wood intended for the Ernestina and they want to know what happened to it. As a result, Mitchell has involved the District Attorney Tom Quinn, who has begun a review of the evidence gathered by the City's Personnel Director.

I still believe the City should not be investigating itself, especially since Mitchell continues to maintain that he's seen no evidence of criminality even though the information is still being collected.

Quittacas Reservoir (Townsquare Media Photo Barry Richard)
Quittacas Reservoir (Townsquare Media Photo Barry Richard)

D.A. Quinn should take over the investigation from here, and if he too finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, then so be it.

But the people of New Bedford deserve a full accounting of what happened to the wood, including who authorized its removal from Quittacas, who it was given to, whether any money was exchanged and where the wood is now.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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