Jackman town manager under fire for comments

6

Jackman selectmen are scheduled to meet Tuesday with Town Manager Thomas Kawczynski to discuss his white separatist, anti-Islamic and anti-feminist comments.

The town’s attorney, Warren Shay, said the four-member board called for a meeting with Kawczynski at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Jackman Town Hall.

“The beliefs attributed are not shared by the selectmen and do not reflect the beliefs of the townspeople in general,” Shay said Sunday morning. He said he was speaking for the board.

Kawczynski triggered an outcry Friday for views he expressed on his New Albion website and social media. The selectmen – Jayme French, Charles Lumbert, Scott Smith and Alan Duplessis – have declined to comment and referred questions to Shay.

Jackman, population 862, is in rural Somerset County near the border with Quebec. The town bills itself as “a tourist friendly region” on its website.

In a telephone interview with the Press Herald on Friday night, Kawczynski said New Albion is not a racist movement.

“I am not a white supremacist. I am not a racist,” he said. “What gets me in trouble sometimes is I am a white person who is not ashamed to be white.”

Kawczynski, 37, said living in northern Maine, where most people are white, allows him to “experience the joys of living in a monoculture.” He said he opposes Islam because it’s “not compatible with Western culture.”

On the New Albion website he wrote: “I believe in all people, living as they choose, in free determination. For the people of New England, our folk are white people of European ancestry and ideas, emphasizing the value of work, communing with nature and a society based upon order. While I am not an absolutist on race understanding, the many complications created by the American system, I do believe to the extent we voluntarily separate, the happier every group will be as they regain self-determination.”

He also attacked feminists.

“It’s no accident unattractive women make up the vast majority of feminists, ” he said this month on Gab, a social networking service associated with the far right. “Their issue is less with the roles men and women play, and more with resentment about the lack of attention they draw from men due to these attributes.”

When Kawczynski’s comments were reported in news stories Friday, critics pounced on his views.

They included the Rev. Christina Sillari of First Parish Church, a Unitarian Universalist church in Portland.

“It’s really awful what he’s doing,” she said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine condemned him as well, The Associated Press reported.

On Saturday, the Jackman-Moose River Region Chamber of Commerce issued a statement criticizing Kawczynski’s comments.

“We believe in American values of freedom, diversity and inclusiveness,” said the chamber’s president, Gary Hall. “At this time, we are calling on our selectmen to take appropriate measures and protect our community for which so many have come to know and love.”

The chamber’s Facebook page filled up with public comments about Kawczynski and his New Albion website.

Shay said the meeting Tuesday could be public unless the selectmen decide to go into executive session. He said the board wants to talk to the town manager and “find the facts as best they can understand them.”

“These meetings are generally public,” Shay said.

Kawczynski, who was hired in June at a $49,000 annual salary, started posting his ideas on his website in November and has regularly posted anti-Islamic and anti-feminist comments on Gab.

He said Saturday that he would not quit his job. He set up a crowd fund to sustain him during any legal fight over his job on the Hatreon website, which lacks the hate speech restrictions of other crowdfunding websites.

Facebook photo
Jackman Town Manager Tom Kawczynski poses in front of his New Albion flag. (Facebook photo)

 

 

Advertisement