Two Rumford selectmen take umbrage with candidate's Facebook post

RUMFORD — Two Rumford selectmen defended themselves and two town officials Thursday night claiming that two candidates running for their positions accused them of improprieties via social media.

Selectmen Jeff Sterling and Jolene Lovejoy read prepared statements refuting the Facebook claim of Rumford resident Jim Windover.

Windover is a member of the town Planning Board and Charter Commission. He and former selectman Mark Belanger, Sterling, Lovejoy and Candice Casey are seeking seats on the Board of Selectmen in June. Two three-year terms are available. Windover and Belanger, members of local political activist group Save! Rumford, are running together under the auspices of another political activist group, Rumford Renewal.

On the morning of April 11, all five arrived at the Municipal Building to turn in their nomination paperwork at the town clerk's office.

Lovejoy read aloud Windover's Facebook status update about April 11. It stated: "Jim Windover and Mark Belanger went downtown to the town office to turn in our nomination papers for the selectboard and discovered that, apparently, Jolene Lovejoy, Jeff Sterling and Candice Casey must have had a sleepover at the town hall, because me and Mark were standing outside the door waiting for it to be unlocked so we could go into the town office, and they were already in the clerk's office."

Sterling and Lovejoy said they weren't in the clerk's office and neither was Casey, and they added that they all entered through the rear door, which is unlocked on weekday mornings, allowing town employees to enter the building for work.

"Criticism comes with public service, and that is fair," Sterling said. "But at the business meeting last June, it all changed. The criticism became personal in the media and, more importantly, via social media."

Sterling and Lovejoy said neither uses Facebook nor participates in social media, but are aware of comments being made about themselves and the board. Sterling said he has ignored them.

"I thought for the most part, 'Consider the source and it will go away.' But enough is enough," Sterling said.

He then held up what he said was a copy of what Lovejoy later read that Casey gave to Sterling and Lovejoy, alerting them to Windover's statement.

"My guess is that post from Facebook deals with the Save! Rumford candidates' take on how Jolene, Candice and I received special treatment when it came to turning in our nomination papers," Sterling said.

He said the statement calls into question the actions of Town Clerk Beth Bellegarde and Deputy Clerk Beverly Thorne.

"Really, it's not surprising," Sterling said. "For a year now, Save! Rumford has sustained an attack on our town, the services it provides and the dedicated public servants that provide those services.

"Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, 'Everybody's entitled to his own opinion, not his own facts,'" he said.

Sterling said he arrived at the town office at 7:45 a.m. on April 11, parked on River Street as always and entered the municipal building through the unlocked back door.

He said he walked upstairs and met Lovejoy standing outside the closed clerk's office. Casey arrived soon after, but Bellegarde didn't open the office for business until shortly after 8 a.m., Sterling said. All three then turned in their paperwork.

"One would think that a former selectman would know that the back door is always open in the morning so employees can come to work," he said.

"That (Windover and Belanger) chose to stand at a locked front door was up to them. In the end, no special treatment, no breach of conduct by the clerk's office — just a little common sense."

Sterling and Lovejoy said that if anyone wants to accuse them of anything, to come to a selectmen's meeting, stand at the podium and go on record saying what they have to say and a conversation would ensue.

"Hiding behind a keyboard is not a profile of courage," Sterling said.

Lovejoy also reiterated her actions on April 11, saying she arrived first and waited for the town clerk's office to open. She said it was time for a truce.

"The nastiness, the hatefulness has to stop," she said. "Hatefulness is not appropriate. It is not appropriate for our children at home, it isn't appropriate for our children that are of school age, and I'm here to tell you that it isn't appropriate for adults in my eyes."

She said she was most upset that the statement disparaged Bellegarde and her deputy clerk by innuendo.

"You know, it's important to me that I know I can trust you, and more importantly, that you can trust me," Lovejoy said, her voice breaking. "I think you folks have broken that trust, and I guess we're kind of involved. However, that being said, let the games begin."

Contacted Friday evening, Windover declined to comment on the matter.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Sterling and Lovejoy...

Fell for Candace Casey's ploy to get them to attack Windover and Belanger! No wonder Sterling and Lovejoy have kept Rumford in the economic dumps! They can't think.

I just browsed through the

I just browsed through the "save Rumford" page and it looks like it was put together by a child. The "50 Ways to Cut the Budget" page is not in any type of readable format. It gives one a headache trying to read it and there is no place for discussions on the 50 ways. There is also no contact page on the site, which tells me they are not interested in hearing any opinions or fielding any questions.

I also went to the "Rumford Renewal" Facebook page. It is a closed group that one must apply to join. It is not open to comments, questions, or discussions unless you are approved for membership.

In my opinion, from someone on the outside looking in, it appears that politics in Rumford is one coin. The two opposing groups are only different sides of the same coin.

People of Mexico need to think long and hard before merging with Rumford. In my opinion, Mexico would be on the losing end of the deal.

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Come...

To Rumford, Robert, don't stay in Auburn where you live!

RONALD RIML's picture

Examine 'Save Rumford's:' "Income Analysis" File

"Income Analysis: Highest Paid 50 Employees"

What Analysis???

Fifty Employees and what they were paid. Absolutely no information as to what their 'Job Descriptions' were, nor their levels of experience, years on the job, educational level, number of hours worked - nor any other factors affecting their compensation. That's an 'Analysis?'

This is how 'Analysis' is defined:

detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.
"statistical analysis"

synonyms: examination, investigation, inspection, survey, study, scrutiny; exploration, probe, research, review, evaluation, interpretation, dissection

- That list wasn't an "Analysis" - it was a mere list of what Public Employees were paid; and it's fair game. But to call it an 'Analysis' is nothing more than to gild a turd of a report, and to stoke anger and envy.

And it gives rise to suspicion of how many other underhanded 'Cheap Shots' the 'Save Rumford' movement is capable of.

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Come...

To Rumford, Ronald, don't stay in East Boothbay where you live!

RONALD RIML's picture

I will........

When you offer me a decent contract to teach you 'Alley Oops' how to actually perform an 'Analysis'

And not the 'Urine Analysis' that idiot posted disguised as a "Rumford Income Analysis"

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Your IQ...

certainly does not need my help, does it, Ron? You would be right at home with our present selectmen!

RONALD RIML's picture

You're the one who continues to live there, Ace - not I........

As you're so bright, you figure out how to get the hell outa Dodge.

I applied to join the

I applied to join the facebook group "Rumford Renewal" and have not been approved yet. It appears this group does not want any discussions or comments to their posts. They are playing on peoples emotions without giving anything of substance. I hope the people of Rumford are smarter than that.

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

And...

Everything is great in your Auburn,eh?

Absolutely not Tom. I was

Absolutely not Tom.

I was born and raised in Mexico and may come back some day. It just pains me to see what Rumford has turned into. I have very fond memories of Rumford.

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Come back

now, Bob, Rumford needs you.

CAROLYN LIBBEY's picture

What a circus! And NO offense

What a circus! And NO offense to the Shriners. These little nit-picky scenarios are what keep the rest of us laughing at the antics of towns such as Rumford.

All of you, grow up! You are

All of you, grow up! You are now, or want to represent the taxpayers of Rumford. Try showing the taxpayers that you are mature enough for the job!

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Let's look at...

What Sterling and Lovejoy have done with the Puiia Business Park over 7 years. Their record on economic development is one of failure. Their record of spending as much as possible is terrific. Time to talk substantial issues. Time to vote for new selectmen.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...