ANDOVER — Several people attending Wednesday night’s public hearing on
a petition-initiated referendum to recall 1st Selectman Susan Merrow
said they came to hear reasons behind the second attempt.

But the only reasons the crowd of roughly 50, mostly Merrow supporters,
received came from two women who stood up to say why they signed the
petition.
Two men identified Wednesday night as being behind the petition –
Victor Peterson and Phillip Milligan – did not show up, as had been
anticipated, to explain the reasons stated on the petition as to why
Merrow should be ousted.

The reasons stated on the petition are: neglect to perform duties of
office, conflict of interest, and behavior unbecoming a public official.

Merrow, who was elected to a three-year term on the board in March
2008, survived the first recall attempt by 26 votes in November 2008.
The tally was 289-263.

On May 19, selectmen received another recall petition, signed by many of the same people who sought the first recall attempt.

The hearing, moderated unofficially by Brad Thibodeau, began with a
short discussion about a proposed change to the employee ordinance
concerning life insurance.

The ordinance change, however, was taken off the ballot Wednesday. So,
aside from electing a moderator at a special town meeting at 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 21, the recall referendum will be the only item voted on
by secret ballot from 4 to 8 p.m. in the town hall.

Because the petitioners didn’t attend, residents Deb Cayer and Judy Tabb, who signed the petition, were asked to say why.

“I like Susan, I really do, and I like a lot of the work that she’s
done,” Cayer said. “But, honestly, I think that the vote against Susan
is against her husband (Kevin Scott) and the ruckus that he tends to
cause.”

“I think people have seen the upheaval of what that’s about and it’s
kind of difficult to separate Susan from her husband and his views and
some of the things that he’s done,” Cayer said. “In my opinion, I think
that’s what’s happened and it’s caused a big divide in this town.”

Tabb, a 30-year resident, said she did so based on the March 2008 town
meeting when a majority voted to accept a federal grant for a new
firetruck.

“As a selectperson, I expected Susan to support it. She did not,” Tabb
said. “I think she supports her husband and his group of followers and
that’s why I signed the petition, and I have a right to do so.”

Resident and Water District Trustee Scott Owings commended Tabb and Cayer for stating their reasons.

“I think it speaks volumes that of the 50 or 60 names on this, that
there are only two who are brave enough or decent enough to come to
this meeting,” he said.

Others suggested reworking the recall ordinance to only allow one
attempt or make successive ones more difficult by requiring many more
signatures.

“This is really railroading as I see it,” resident Freeman Farrington said of the petition. “That isn’t fair at all.”

When asked their opinions of Merrow, Selectmen Trudy Akers and Keith Farrington said they have no issues with her.

“I think we’ve all worked fairly well together,” Keith Farrington said.

“So, basically, the claims are bogus?” resident Mark Farrington asked.

Speaking on her own behalf, Merrow told Tabb that a week after she was
elected, a man behind the petition began threatening to do everything
in his power to oust her.

She also accused him of attending every meeting and threatening her
afterward to the point where she said she had to take out a protection
from abuse order against him.

She also said she received threatening e-mails from the man whose life
she said she saved by calling 911 when he had a medical emergency.

Resident Susan Mills also defended Merrow.

“I just hope people vote smart and really think about the accusations and where they’re coming from,” Mills said.

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During Wednesday night’s public hearing in Andover on a petition-initiated referendum to recall 1st Selectman Susan Merrow, resident Deb Cayer explains why she signed the petition. Seated behind her at left is Judy Tabb, who also signed the petition and explained why.


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