JAY — A longtime resident known for speaking his mind sent the town manager an email on Nov. 29 taking some selectmen to task over the attire they wear to board meetings.
Three self-employed selectmen usually come straight from work to the meeting to get the town's business done.
There is no dress code for Jay's Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Ruth Cushing said Tuesday.
Traditionally selectmen in New England are working people — farmers, fishermen, lumbermen and people who work in the quarries and they come to the meeting to do the people's work, Cushing said.
Board Chairman Steve McCourt brought the email up during a selectmen's meeting on Monday and said Tuesday that he shouldn't have.
“I only wanted to stress that three-fifths of our board are self-employed,” McCourt said. “They do well to make the meetings; sometimes they don't even get to have supper. I think their attire is fine.”
Al Landry, who attends most selectmen's meetings and other town and school meetings, said in his email that he had attended another board of selectmen's meeting in another town and didn't see any of that board's members wearing hats during the meeting.
Landry said he's seen some members of Jay's board wearing shorts (during the summer), soiled hats, and dirty work clothes.
“I only want our town mothers and fathers to have pride in serving as they are voted to do,” Landry said in his email.
Landry said he has no problem with Selectman Amy Gould's appearance. She looks nice, he said.
Gould works for a law firm and usually comes straight from work. He also didn't have a problem with McCourt's attire, Landry said Tuesday.
The other three board members are Selectmen Tim DeMillo, co-owner of a welding and fabrication business, Selectman Justin Merrill, a logger who works in the family business, and Tom Goding, a construction contractor. They usually come straight from work and wear their work attire, which includes, for two of them, button-down shirts with the business name and their name on them.
The selectmen took up several items Monday, including the board voting to work together with the Maine Department of Transportation to make a dangerous intersection safer at the corner of Hyde Road and Route 133, according to the draft minutes of Monday's meeting.
They agreed to hold a special town meeting when needed to ask voters to appropriate money for the project. The board also adopted an updated Drug and Alcohol Policy to be in compliance with the Department of Labor guidelines. The board also reappointed Tom Fortier, Pam Newton, Beth Wright and William Rider and appointed Michael Schaedler to the Budget Committee.
In the draft minutes of Monday's meeting, DeMillo did comment on the dress situation at the end of the meeting.
(“DeMillo) said that he had sat here and listened to some very important things. A lot of good decisions have been made here tonight, ” according to the minutes. “A lot of good decisions have been made here tonight. (DeMillo) was disappointed that we opened the meeting discussing attire. (DeMillo) comes to the meetings clean and he felt that it was unfortunate that the focus was on that instead of safety issues and the important issues that were dealt with.”
Landry said Tuesday he didn't plan on attending any more selectmen's meetings. He sent an email to that effect to Cushman, he said.
“I don't like the way they act,” he said.