Paris selectmen criticized over Jamison removal

PARIS — Residents at Tuesday's selectmen meeting voiced their disagreement with the board's decision to not reappoint Janet Jamison to the Budget Committee.

Peter L. McGuire, Sun Journal

Paris Budget Committee Chairman Vic Hodgkins 

Several residents claimed the decision had more to do with their personal feelings toward Jamison than her longstanding record on the committee. 

In a unanimous vote last month, board members denied Jamison another term, saying her confrontational demeanor obstructed the committee's smooth operation. Her term ended in June.

At Tuesday's meeting, Budget Committee Chairman Vic Hodgkins said he "categorically rejected" selectmen's notion that Jamison disrupted the committee's work.

Hodgkins said he had never received a complaint about Jamison's conduct from another committee member and said it was "disingenuous" for selectmen to use the allegations as a basis for not reappointing her.

"I think it's rather obvious that the more likely reason for your rejection has to do more with her interactions with you publicly and privately," Hodgkins said. 

Jamison is a regular attendee at selectmen meetings and frequently questions the decisions made by the board and Town Manager Amy Bernard. 

Hodgkins said the board's treatment of Jamison, as well as its refusal to reappoint Jean Smart to the Policy and Procedures Committee in June, set a "dangerous precedent" for future committee appointments.

"This select board is setting up a pattern of a litmus test that I don't think can be warranted for volunteer membership of committees in this town," Hodgkins said. 

His concern was echoed by several other residents, including Policy and Procedures Chairman Jack Richardson, who accused the board of engaging in "the politics of intolerance and intimidation."

"In the cases of both Jean Smart and Janet Jamison you have sought, pretty transparently, to punish hardworking, productive members of two committees just because either you or someone in the administration was criticized or offended," Richardson reading from a statement.

Lawrence Reid, however, was more blunt. 

"If I was talking to my son right now, I'd tell him to grow up," Reid told selectmen. 

Selectmen did not respond to the residents' comments during the meeting. 

pmcguire@sunjournal.com

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ERNEST LABBE's picture

Just another

Just another in paradise, also know as Paris.

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