No wrongdoing in Dover-Foxcroft dispute, state says

Posted March 10, 2009, at 8:48 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:01 a.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Maine Attorney General’s Office found no information in material forwarded by a selectman to suggest two municipal employees have engaged in criminal wrongdoing, and therefore no investigation will be initiated.

That was the word from Brian MacMaster, director of investigations for the Attorney General’s Office, in a letter to Dover-Foxcroft Selectman Joyce Perry. Copies of the letter dated March 3 were distributed Monday to selectmen.

In December, Perry requested that the Attorney General’s Office investigate allegations of misappropriation of funds against Town Manager Jack Clukey and board Chairman Elwood Edgerly. That move was made after the selectmen’s administrative committee discussed the matter and found no grounds for an investigation.

“I’m glad we can bring some closure to this issue,” Clukey said Tuesday.

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Edgerly said the information has been reviewed and there is nothing that would warrant further action. “We need to put this behind us and we need to simply focus on the issues we have at hand,” he said Tuesday.

Perry first raised the issue of an appearance of impropriety by the two town officials in connection with contracts and payments made by the town to Edgerly, who operates a plumbing business. She presented municipal warrants from September 2007 to 2008 that showed more than $170,000 was paid by the town to Edgerly. Some of the funds, she alleged, were for projects Edgerly helped develop. 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.

The board’s administrative committee in December addressed Perry’s concerns but found no wrongdoing.

“What I believe to be true is that Elwood has disclosed his profession from day one and that we have the full knowledge that Elwood has been working on the project at Morton Avenue and other projects, that we have reviewed warrants biweekly and that we have approved them,” Selectman Cynthia Freeman-Cyr of the administrative committee said in December. She also noted that while the town had paid Edgerly for certain projects and goods, he had volunteered untold time for other town projects.

MacMaster concurred with the local board’s assessment that there were no grounds for an investigation.

“Nothing in the information suggests that Mr. Edgerly or any other town official has engaged in any criminal wrongdoing,” he advised Perry in his letter.

He also noted that in the absence of such wrongdoing, his office has no basis for involvement in matters described in her letter. State law addresses potential conflicts of interest and provides the legal remedy to address those conflicts, he said.

Perry said Tuesday she was disappointed. “There are unanswered questions still,” she said. “Is it allowable for a selectman to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from their position?”

Still, some good has resulted from her having raised the issue, Perry noted. She said the board has taken some remedies, such as adopting a procurement policy, and board members now are making disclosures and recusals. Despite the changes, some issues remain unresolved, she explained, adding that she still would like to see a full-scale investigation.

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