Editor’s note: Due to a production error a version of this story, which appeared Friday in the River Valley edition, did not run in its entirety. We are reprinting it today.

RUMFORD – In acknowledging mistakes he committed last month by helping to remove trees from in front of the Municipal Building, Selectman Frank DiConzo agreed that “the chain of command should be followed.”

He then surprised some Thursday by suddenly moving to dissolve the town’s Charter Commission, against the advice of the town manager and others.

DiConzo and Selectman Arthur Boivin issued a joint statement expressing regret for their roles in the removal of the two maple trees, done with the help of Boivin’s brother, Eugene Boivin, on Nov. 5.

Their statement, read by Arthur Boivin, came after complaints by some residents about the process by which the trees were removed. The two subsequently were directed by the Board of Selectmen to issue the public statement, which was read Thursday.

“Volunteering is an important part of my life, to be of service to anyone in Rumford and beyond. But the chain of command should be followed,” Boivin said.

DiConzo acknowledged that mistakes were made, and safety equipment wasn’t worn during the tree removal.

“But there was no criminal intent,” he said.

DiConzo then turned his attention to the Charter Commission, introducing a motion to disband it.

The town has seen ongoing debate over the role of the commission, which has been meeting for about 1 years. Selectmen charged Thursday that the panel has violated local and state laws by not always keeping a public record of its discussions.

“The Charter Commission was allowed to speak off-record by turning off the tape recorder. This is a violation of not only the charter but of state law, as well,” DiConzo said.

Selectman Mark Belanger seconded the motion to dissolve.

DiConzo said recommended changes to the charter would not go to voters, as commission Chairman Walter Buotte had said at the last board meeting, but rather they would go to selectmen for review.

Board Chairman Greg Buccina said the town’s lawyer should be consulted before a vote could be made on the dissolution of the commission.

Town Manager Jim Doar said he wasn’t sure the board could dissolve the commission because residents approved its creation.

Buccina added that he believed it was unfair to dismiss the work that had been done by the commission.

“The idea was for the Charter Commission to give us recommendations, then we’d present them to the citizens,” he said.

Selectmen, however, voted 3-1, with Buccina abstaining, to dissolve the commission. Selectman Brad Adley was the dissenting vote.

Buccina later said that a decision by the board to dissolve the commission should not have been made during the part of the agenda reserved for selectmen’s reports.

“Something of that magnitude should have been an agenda item,” he said.

Selectmen also decided not to adopt a rule that some believed would lead to more civil discussions at board meetings.

Instead, Buccina said he would continue to use Robert’s Rules of Order and the charter for guidance.


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