POLAND — The three selectmen who are subject to a recall election following their votes to fire former Town Manager Rosemary Kulow were alternately praised and condemned at Tuesday's public hearing on the matter.
Resident Stan Tetenman led the evening off with accusations that selectmen Jim Fernald, Larry Moreau and Wendy Sanborn had violated the town Charter when they fired Kulow following a regular selectmen's meeting on Oct. 16.
“The Charter has no provision for removal without cause,” Tetenman said.
Tetenman added that hiring Rosemary Roy without any formal search for the most suitable candidate out there who might replace Kulow was further evidence that the selectmen were not fit for office.
Sanborn noted that there was no requirement that the board go through an exhaustive search to find a replacement for Kulow and said that she was not bothered by the fact that Roy didn't have the academic background that Tetenman might consider necessary for the position.
“Rosemary (Roy) has spent decades working for the town of Poland. This is the third time she filled in as manager, she has plenty of experience,” Sanborn said.
Resident Norm Beauparlant said that he knew all three selectmen well from dealings he has had with them over the years.
“I have total respect for each of them. These are not people who are acting in their own interest, but rather they are acting for what is in the best interest of the town. They deserve a 'thank you' for what they do,” Beauparlant said.
Former selectman Peter Bolduc recalled his days on the board, noting that while he had his disagreements on particular issues, “we came through some dark times but with this (recall), I think we are going backwards. You have my support.”
Resident Michelle Arsenault insisted that the recall was not about whether the selectmen are being recalled because they bad people.
“There's nothing personal about it. It's about following the town Charter, about following procedure,” Arsenault said.
Arthur Berry, who said he was one of the prime movers responsible for gathering some 188 signatures to force the recall, backed Arsenault.
“When you break the law, there are repercussions, something has to happen,” Berry said.
Sanborn pointed out that Kulow had been terminated under terms contained in her contract, her employment agreement.
“The town's attorney agrees with us,” Sanborn said.
Selectmen confirmed that people will be able to vote whether to recall each of the three selectmen, individually.
The recall vote will take place on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Polls will be open at the Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots are now available at the Town Office.