Greenville chairman steps down after gaffe

Posted July 23, 2010, at 8:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — Greenville Selectman Alan McBrierty, who called a resident who wanted to speak at a public hearing earlier this month “the mouth,” presented the board with a written apology Wednesday and stepped down as board chairman.

After McBrierty did so, board members elected Eugene Murray as chairman and then elected McBrierty as vice chairman.

McBrierty made the offhand comment to former Selectman Mike Theriault during a July 7 hearing on all-terrain traffic on Pritham Avenue held before the regular board meeting.

In a letter to the board mailed after that meeting, Theriault faulted the earlier public hearing process because McBrierty had attempted to cut off discussion before he and others had spoken on the issue. McBrierty had moved to end the public hearing to begin the selectmen’s meeting, but other board members felt the public should have their say and they did.

Theriault, who called McBrierty’s comment unprofessional, also asked for an apology, which McBrierty has since given. Selectmen also apologized to Theriault this week.

Greenville Town Manager John Simko plans to develop some simple guidelines for the board about how public hearings will be held in the future. That might include a limit on comments to three to five minutes, Simko said. He stressed, however, that anyone who attends a public hearing would be given an opportunity to speak.

Board members did suggest that future public hearings no longer be held on the same night as their twice-monthly meetings.

Also on Wednesday, selectmen met some of the new police reserves along with the town’s new full-time police officer, John Matula, who is relocating his family from Canton, Ohio, to Greenville. He starts his new job on Friday.

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