BUCKFIELD — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday refused to remove Heather Turner from the Recreation Committee, after she apologized publicly for inappropriate behavior at a committee fundraiser last month in Turner.
“I’m glad we are here to address this,” she told the board, its attorney and others at the public personnel hearing she requested. “I made a poor decision and I publicly apologize. I’m a good person who made a mistake.” She did not elaborate on her inappropriate behavior.
The committee sponsored a fundraising dance last month at the Boofy Quimby Memorial Hall. At least one committee member said Tuesday night that he attended the function and consumed alcohol.
“We are here to decide what action, if any, is to be taken on an incident in Turner at a Mardi Gras fundraiser for the Recreation Committee,” town attorney Geoffrey Hole advised the crowd of about 40 people.
Selectman John Lowell said he was informed of the incident — which no one described during the hearing — by Town Manager Glen Holmes after the dance and that selectmen had to address inappropriate behavior at the event, even though it was not held in Buckfield.
“It takes a lot of guts to do what she had done tonight and I’ve heard why we shouldn’t remove her,” Lowell said. “It was a serious lesson to be learned. I’m not condoning, but we should accept the apology and move on.”
Recreation Committee Chairman Chris Reed said that he, as chairman of the committee, was responsible. “Things got out of hand with the crowds. To make an example of Heather would be a mistake.”
Committee member Jason Rowe admitted to consuming alcohol at the dance. “I was involved and should be punished as well,” he said.
Chuck Barnes, another attendee at the fundraiser, said he would have a hard time singling out any one person to punish for what happened.
Hole said the board should consider whether Turner should be allowed to remain on the committee.
Selectman Eileen Hotham said she appreciated Turner being upfront with the board, but made a motion that she be removed from the committee. The motion died for lack of a second.
Little League issue
In another Recreation Committee issue, David Chabe read a statement that he had been a coach for many years and never had complaints, yet he was passed over for coaching the Little Leagues this year. He said the board chose someone who had little experience to coach and someone who had the most experience to assist.
Chabe said he knew the kids and what their strengths were and which positions they should play.
“It is a safety issue,” he said.
“Why do we have to justify every decision we make?” Reed asked. “We had four people apply and we voted. We have a right to choose.”
Chabe said town policies hadn’t been followed on choosing a coach. Recreation Committee members said they had never seen the policies, and selectmen wouldn’t reverse the committee’s decision.
In other news, the board wrote letters to five towns thanking them for helping with the fire at Streaked Mountain Motor Group on Depot Street on March 4. Those towns were Hebron, Sumner, Norway, South Paris and Turner.
It was announced that the Emergency Management Volunteer dinner is set for May 14, and the annual town meeting has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 26.