SANGERVILLE, Maine — A conversation allegedly overheard by more than one person continues to cause hard feelings between officials in Sangerville and Corinna.
Sangerville Fire Chief Charles Bean told selectmen last week that he overheard a conversation on March 20 at the Sangerville fire station between Corinna Town Manager Dalton Mullis and Randy Cookson, who was fired last month as Sangerville’s public works director. Bean alleged that Mullis told Cookson, who is a firefighter, that if Cookson planned to appeal his termination, he would like to participate. Nazier Clukey, another firefighter, has since said that he, too, overheard the same conversation.
Based on the alleged conversation and legal advice, Sangerville selectmen wrote a letter to Corrina selectmen noting Mullis’ actions, which they called ‘’reprehensible.’’ The Corinna board was asked whether Mullis had been acting on its behalf and whether selectmen would consider any disciplinary action against him.
Mullis told the BDN last week that he owns two properties in Sangerville and had met with Cookson to ask about a road matter. He said he did not realize Cookson had been terminated. Both Mullis and Cookson have denied that a discussion took place about Cookson’s termination.
According to his letter of termination, Cookson was fired because of inappropriate and insubordinate statements that he made to Town Manager Michelle Dumoulin, who previously had served as Corinna’s town clerk. Cookson appealed his termination, and the appeal was denied by selectmen last week.
Corinna selectmen this week replied to Sangerville’s letter. In it, Board Chairman Scott Paradis wrote that Mullis had not been acting on Corinna’s behalf when he met with Cookson in Sangerville. ‘’Whatever conversation Mr. Mullis may have had was not under the direction or representation of the Town of Corinna, but merely as a citizen with concerns, whatever they may have been,’’ Paradis wrote.
He said he felt it was ‘’truly unfortunate’’ that Sangerville selectmen were ‘’so hasty and/ or eager’’ to involve the town of Corinna that they failed to do the necessary research and based their assumptions on hearsay only.
“As to how the Town of Corinna will handle this situation with Mr. Mullis, it will be at our discretion and we will handle the matter as we deem necessary,” Paradis wrote.