MATTAWAMKEAG, Maine — The election of new selectmen and a state police investigation have frozen Fire Chief Robert Powers’ status for now, a former selectman said Thursday.
Voters elected the new board members, John Whitehouse and George Sargent, during an election earlier this week. A former chairman returning to the board after several years away, Whitehouse won a three-year seat with 99 votes, while Sargent won a two-year seat with 55, officials said.
The old board opted to await the completion of state police Trooper Thomas Fiske’s investigation of criminal allegations against Fire Chief Powers and his wife, Deputy Fire Chief Lynne Powers, before acting, said former Selectman Bion Tolman, who opted not to run for re-election.
The Powerses are accused of buying at least $9,000 in gasoline for personal vehicles with a town credit card intended for Fire Department use. The Powerses, who were suspended without pay, have never publicly answered the allegations or responded to requests for comment.
They appointed an interim replacement, but board members have yet to accept Robert Powers’ resignation letter, Tolman said.
Board members also agreed to await the election to decide whether to accept a resignation tendered by Administrative Assistant Steve Worster in the wake of the board’s actions against the Powerses, Tolman said.
Worster has continued to work for the town as administrative assistant, Tolman said. He said he believes that some selectmen seek to return the Powerses to their jobs and are stymied by other selectmen and townspeople who don’t.
Worster will likely “have to resubmit the letter,” Tolman said.
Attempts to contact Worster, Fiske, Sargent, Whitehouse and the Powerses on Thursday were unsuccessful. The Powers family has an unlisted telephone number.