Donald said his concerns with Duffy's reappointment are unrelated to his involvement with efforts to remove the turbines. He noted that directly before the reappointment vote, the selectmen spent ample time discussing the town's accepting a new donated bike rack. "I'm perturbed that our democratic process is being subverted, and it's time that people should stand up and say, 'Enough is enough,'" Donald said.
FALMOUTH – A Falmouth selectmen’s meeting came to a head Monday night when the board chairman asked police to escort a resident out of the room.
When the selectmen voted to ratify Town Manager Julian Suso’s reappointment of Frank Duffy as town counsel without public discussion, Malcolm Donald, 60, took issue.
“Alternatives to the single town counsel exist,” Donald said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I thought it would be appropriate for the public to weigh in on it.”
After the board took the vote, Donald approached the lectern, insisting the board allow him to speak.
“After the appointment was made, Mr. Donald continued to be boisterous, continued to want to be heard,” board Chairman Kevin Murphy said Tuesday.
Murphy banged his gavel, telling Donald that he was out of order, Donald said. But Donald continued to speak. Murphy then called the meeting into recess and asked Acting Police Chief Edward Dunne to escort Donald out of the meeting room.
Donald was escorted out without incident, Dunne said Tuesday.
Donald said Tuesday that he wanted to ask the selectmen to delay the vote until next week so the public could comment and inquire whether there are more cost-effective methods of town legal representation than a town counsel.
“I asked, ‘What’s the report card on (Frank) Duffy?'” Donald said. “What I wanted to know was how much money did we spend on outside law firms. … How much did we spend on legal settlements?”
Murphy said Tuesday that the selectmen previously decided to ratify Suso’s reappointment of Duffy – who earned a salary of $117,204 in 2011 – without public discussion. The public had the opportunity to write to the selectmen with any concerns before the meeting, which Donald and two others did, he added.
“Keep in mind that Mr. Donald has a pending lawsuit in which Mr. Duffy is defending in the next couple of weeks,” Murphy said, referring to legal action against the town by people who live in property abutting two town-owned wind turbines.
The other two letters came from “the same constituency” as Donald, Murphy said. He declined to elaborate.
Donald said his concerns with Duffy’s reappointment are unrelated to his involvement with efforts to remove the turbines.
He noted that directly before the reappointment vote, the selectmen spent ample time discussing the town’s accepting a new donated bike rack.
“I’m perturbed that our democratic process is being subverted, and it’s time that people should stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough,'” Donald said.
A letter will be sent to Donald reminding him of rules for those attending selectmen’s meetings.
“The idea here is not to stifle public comment,” Murphy said. “We realize that people are passionate about issues.”
Correction: Falmouth man not involved with suit
Because of incorrect information provided to the Times, a story about the Falmouth selectmen’s meeting that ran on Page A4 of Wednesday’s Times had an error about the lawsuit over the town’s turbines. Falmouth resident Malcolm Donald is not involved with the suit.
January 11, 2013 |
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