DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A selectman, who last month called for an official investigation into possible corruption and misappropriation of funds by another selectman and the town manager, was blasted Monday by a handful of residents for raising her concerns publicly.
Selectman Joyce Perry initially asked in October that the former charter commission be assembled to look into the $60,658 paid by the town to Edgerly Plumbing, which is owned by board Chairman Elwood Edgerly. Perry upgraded that amount earlier this month to $177,583, covering a period from September 2006 to October 2008. She also asked that Town Manager Jack Clukey’s role in the payments for projects be investigated. She claims some projects were never advertised.
Making the issue public was the wrong approach, businessman Mark Robinson said Monday.
“You tarnish a man without proof,” he said.
Resident Sue Mackey Andrews also noted she was dismayed at the public charges. “It takes a lifetime to create a reputation; and only a few moments to destroy a reputation built over a lifetime.” She called it “reckless and inexcusable to make accusations against public officials without providing written documentation of the charges.” Any accusations, Andrews said, do not belong on the board’s agenda but should be investigated by county or state police.
Perry also expressed her concerns Monday. While she had requested that the town charter commission review her allegations, the board opted instead to have the administrative committee do the review. She alleged that the committee, which consists of members of the Board of Selectmen chaired by the town manager, held a se-cret executive session last week when the matter was discussed. She said no public notice and no notification of the reason for the executive meeting were provided, nor was a vote taken as required by state statue. Perry said she and Selectman James Annis both stated they would not participate in the meeting.
“The meeting was turned over to one of those being investigated, Mr. Clukey, who ran the meeting,” Perry said. She noted she was provided with a 28-page questionnaire regarding her allegations with instructions to fill it out. Based on the committee’s “behaviors and inappropriate activity,” she said she would no longer partici-pate directly “in their fraudulent” investigation and that she has forwarded her complaint to Erik Stumpfel, the town’s attorney.
Selectman Cynthia Freeman, a member of the administrative committee, said the meeting was posted and a vote was taken to do so. She said Perry was asked at the executive session for specific accusations that violated the policies of the board and state but none were provided.
Another executive session was held by the administrative committee on the matter Monday after the selectmen’s meeting. Perry did not stay for that meeting.
Although Edgerly did not speak on the matter Monday and passed the gavel during the discussion to Brian Mullis, board vice chairman, he has denied any impropriety. He noted last month that all of his bills are approved through a warrant process.