Wednesday’s regular meeting of the CSD, whose top agenda item was the interview and appointment of two new board members, was anything but regular, beginning with a warning from the town’s police chief Lt. Mike Burton, and ending with an apology by CSD President Ray Tetreault for the board’s inability to reach a consensus.
“There have been some concerns about public safety at this meeting and it’s a concern to me that in a town with duck crossing signs and a country club we could not have a respectful meeting,” said Burton, referring to calls he had received from the general public. “As your chief of police I would be absolutely embarrassed for all of us if someone were to act out (at the meeting). I know it means a lot to you and I respect that, but I ask you to be respectful of each other.”
Nine residents originally pulled applications for the two seats left vacant by the resignations last month of Treasurer Dave Dove and Director Shannon Murphy-Teixeira, but only seven remained in the running by Wednesday night. Roger DiFate withdrew his application at the last minute, and Rose Solberg was a no-show.
The final applicants, Dominic Carano, Brian Dawson, Kevin Graves, Don Flint, Bud Kyle, Mike McCleery and Walter MacVittie, took turns at the podium, each offering a brief presentation to the board followed by questions from the directors.
Following the interviews, Tetreualt invited members of the audience to speak, but there were no takers. The first round of nominations followed, beginning with a motion from Director Simon for the appointment of Graves, followed by Tetreault nominating McCleery and Piepho nominating Dawson.
CSD law requires three votes to pass a motion, and because the usual five-member board is now only three, decisions must be unanimous for anything to pass.
Once the nominations were concluded, Piepho announced he would not agree to vote for candidates individually, but only in pairs, thereby eliminating the possibility that a lone appointee would be seated and empowered to cast a vote for or against the final appointee.
“I’m unwilling to do that,” said Piepho. “If we deadlock, then the one (vote getter) is the vote breaker … I wouldn’t put anyone in that position.”
The move surprised virtually everyone in the room, including town attorney John Stovall. Stovall explained that the usual procedure was to vote on candidates individually until two are selected. Piepho said he would not agree to that procedure, however, and after being assured by Stovall that voting on pairs of nominees was within CSD law, the process continued.
Tetreault proposed McCleery and Graves together, which was seconded by Simon, but vetoed by Piepho. Piepho then nominated Dawson and McCleery, but Simon and Teatreault voted no. Piepho then nominated Graves and Dawson, which Tetreault accepted but Simon rejected.
Piepho blamed the late delivery to the meeting of applicants’ resumés (they were not distributed until a few hours before the meeting) as a factor in the board’s inability to agree, but added that the board’s intention was to reach a consensus.
“I hope by calling a special meeting it shows we are not eager to hand this over to the Board of Supervisors,” said Piepho. “We may, but we’ll see.”
Tetreault said he was hopeful the board would eventually agree.
“I’m sorry we didn’t get the job done; it’s all about consensus and we’ll do whatever it takes to get it done.”
If the board is unable to fill the two seats at next week’s special meeting and does not call for a special election, the decision will go before the Board of Supervisors, which will have 30 days to appoint or call for a special election. In the event that the supervisors take no action, the town will be required to hold a special election.
The special meeting will be held on Wednesday Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in the town offices, 1800 Willow Lake Road.
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