Craig Dixon, the current chairman of the New Bedford Conservation Commission, is now claiming he was under pressure and buckled to the Mayor's Office.

What causes a man to break the public trust as an appointed official? What kind of leverage does a man need over another to make him humiliate himself in a public meeting?

Chairman Craig Dixon isn't someone you would want in a foxhole with you.

During the Tuesday, July 16 public meeting of the Conservation Commission at the Brooklawn Park Senior Center, Dixon claimed he was under pressure from the Mayor's Office to get the water park opened. He is claiming the office of Mayor Jon Mitchell asked him on Friday afternoon to allow the water park to open and he gave his unilateral approval.

Keep in mind that Chairman Dixon promised the public that the Conservation Commission would continue its meeting for two weeks and led the public to believe the water park wouldn't open until his board had fully reviewed the project.

Then he turned around and gave his approval to the private Texas-based company, Altitude H20, and its business partner, the City's Park Department. What makes a man behave in such a manner? What kind of "pressure" was put on Dixon to make him reverse his course so dramatically?

The other members of the Conservation Commission appear to have been kept in the dark by their chairman. Conservation Commissioner Paul Pacheco made it clear that he wasn't called by the Mayor's Office on the matter. If Dixon did poll other members of the board, that could be a matter for the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

How can anyone in the city have confidence in the current chairman? And how can the Mayor's Office trust him when he first buckled to them and then gave them up as the villains who applied so much "pressure" to him?

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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