DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Board of Selectmen’s administrative committee on Monday announced it found no grounds for an investigation requested by a board member into possible corruption and misappropriation of funds by two town officials.
Earlier this fall, Selectman Joyce Perry called for an official investigation into the activities of the chairman of the Board of Selectman, Elwood Edgerly, and Town Manager Jack Clukey relating to contracts and payments made by the town to Edgerly, who operates a plumbing business.
Perry alleged that Edgerly and Clukey on several occasions made decisions without informing the board and without soliciting bids and that Edgerly profited from those decisions. According to municipal warrants, Edgerly was paid more than $177,000 for work provided to the town from September 2006 to October 2008. She also alleged Clukey has not provided the documents she requested regarding the payments made to Edgerly.
Selectman Cynthia Freeman Cyr, who along with Selectmen Brian Mullis and Jane Conroy serves on the administrative committee, said Monday the committee was not in a position to conduct a criminal investigation and found no grounds for such an investigation.
The work performed by Edgerly Plumbing has been reviewed and discussed at many selectmen’s meetings, according to Cyr.
“Everyone has been fully aware of Selectman Edgerly’s responsibilities as our volunteer clerk of the works for the Morton Avenue project, as well as his business relationship with the project,” Cyr said. The work to retrofit and renovate the former Morton Avenue School was overseen by the board’s promotion and development committee and its public works panel, on both of which Perry serves as a member, she said.
Perry, who serves as chairman of the promotion and development committee, said in a written response handed to the board Monday that there was never any discussion nor was authorization given to Edgerly for any contracts or payments. She claimed Edgerly said during those committee meetings that he was only doing charity work for the town. She also noted that Edgerly voted on the warrants that included checks written to him.
Cyr said Edgerly has donated much time and effort to the town and thanked him for constructing the board’s table from computer tables discarded by the school district. She also expressed the committee’s concern about the “damage” done to the town, to Edgerly and to Clukey “by these unfounded allegations of wrongdoing.”
In her response, Perry noted she initially had requested the investigation not to find guilt but to consider just cause to request a formal investigation by the appropriate authorities.
“Although the committee members now admit they are unable to perform an investigation, they somehow are able to provide a conclusion to it,” Perry wrote.
Perry said in her written response to the board and again to a reporter outside the meeting that she has forwarded her complaint to the state Attorney General’s Office, the district attorney, the town’s auditor and the town’s attorney.
Despite that move, Town Manager Jack Clukey said he was pleased with the findings. “I’m glad the committee is bringing closure to the issue,” he said.
Asked to comment, Edgerly declined and referred to the letter written by the committee.