Woodbury resident's sign draws criticism

A sign posted by a Woodbury resident depicting the town’s First Selectman William Butterly as Joseph Stalin. (WFSB)

A new sign in Woodbury has people talking and some residents told Eyewitness News that they are furious over the depiction.

The sign posted by a Woodbury resident depicting the town’s First Selectman William Butterly as Joseph Stalin. The sign rests off Route 64.

Butterly told Eyewitness News he isn’t fond of the sign.

“This to me is thumbing your nose at the entire town of Woodbury,” Butterly said.

Sean Murphy lives nearby and posted the Stalin sign as well as another one near it. These signs are the latest in what has been a four-year feud over political issues between the two men. Butterly admits having been aggressive with Murphy in the past—though the two never engaged in a physical fight.

The impetus for this sign was a lawsuit filed by the Woodbury Historic District Commission against a friend of Murphy's, Tom Arras, for posting a sign without a permit.

Arras previously posted the WTF sign, which sparked controversy in September. On the letters, Arras painted on the letters were the words "Woodbury wastes taxpayer funds" and posted them on his front lawn on Main Street South.

Murphy feels that Butterly has been a poor leader and attempted to keep people from posting political signs like the ones he has at his home and pointed to litigation he says was supported by the town.

“This is Stalinist type behavior where you're using people's money to silence someone,” Murphy said.

Murphy says the feud between the two men goes back to when Butterly defeated the former selectman, a close friend of Murphy's.

Murphy blasted Butterly's leadership and raising of taxes. Butterly said municipal taxes have dropped two out of his three years as selectman and while he isn't above criticism.

“ I’m a Politician we're subjected to it, anytime you go into (politics) you'll see go dump this guy, go dump that guy,” Butterly said.

But, Butterly said he feels the Stalin sign goes too far.

“This are insults to the entire town,” Butterly said.

Murphy told Eyewitness News he stands by his sign.

“I have a right and so do other people have a right to express their opinions,” Murphy said.

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