June 24, 2018
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Code enforcement officer to Veazie council: ‘Take this job and …’

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

VEAZIE, Maine — After town councilors did not reappoint him Monday night, Veazie’s longtime code enforcement officer and tax assessor called it quits.

In the letter of resignation he emailed to town councilors the following day, Allan Thomas had this to say:

“It appears that the Veazie Town Council does not feel that it is important to get the tax commitment done even though this is where the majority of revenues come from to keep the Town functioning. This is good because you can ‘Take this job and shove it,’” he said, including a link to a YouTube video of country performer Johnny Paycheck’s 1980 hit.

“I have made many sacrifices in the sense that I have felt a commitment to this position and worked against medical [advice] in order to fulfill needs that the Town has had [at] various times,” said Thomas, who is 65 and for the last month has been working part time while recovering from knee surgery.

“I even came to Town meeting after a surgery on my face to remove cancer,” he said. “This was so that I would be able to get the tax commitment done in the appropriate time frame.  Good luck.”

Town councilors will meet at 7 p.m. next Monday to consider the town’s options with regard to code and assessing services, Chairman Joe Friedman said Thursday.

Friedman decline to comment on the resignation Thursday, other than to say, “The whole council was surprised.”

Friedman was elected council chairman during Monday night’s meeting in a 3-1-1 vote, with members David King, Brian Perkins and Tammy Olson, a newcomer who works for the Veazie Sewer District, in favor. Friedman abstained and Jonathan Parker cast a no vote.

Thomas said this week that he had expected to continue to work at least until the annual tax commitment is completed. He said he also was willing to help with the transition to a new assessor or to a proposed collaboration with Bangor and Orono under discussion.

That changed Monday night.

According to the meeting record, Town Manager BIll Reed had recommended that the council reappoint Thomas on Monday because his two terms — as code enforcement officer and tax assessor — expire June 30 and because the next regular meeting isn’t until July. Instead, councilors took no action.

Parker said Thursday that he he tried to persuade other councilors to reappoint Thomas for at least another four or sixth months but received no support.

Parker and Thompson said in separate interviews this week that they believe the decision not to reappoint Thomas was made before Monday’s meeting.

“I found it very interesting that [one] of the Town Councilors had a copy of the State Statutes [stating that a] Code enforcement position continues until replaced,” Thomas wrote in his letter. “Also, it was obvious that others of you knew that she had it. I just would have liked you to be straight forward about your not wanting me, I could have quit sooner.”

Thomas said this week that he was referring to a copy of a section of state law brought to the meeting by Olson, who was attending her first meeting as a councilor.

Parker said the document was copied and distributed during Monday’s meeting and the fact that Olson brought it seemed suspicious to him.

“Why would she have brought it if they hadn’t already decided?” he said.

“I have no idea what he was talking about,” Friedman said Thursday when asked about the document. Olson did not return a telephone call to her home Thursday afternoon.

Besides his positions in Veazie, Thomas is chairman of the Bangor Area Stormwater Group.

Thomas said now that he is retired, he is enjoying time at home with his wife, Elaine, teacher whose summer vacation began earlier this week.

“She’s grinning from ear to ear,” he said.

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