Selectmen in Paris should brush up on their history. The last time a populist insurrection occurred in a community with that name, the results for the rulers weren’t so favorable. (And ironically enough, Tuesday was Bastille Day.)

It all stemmed from failing to listen to the concerns and needs of the people. We don’t imagine townspeople in Western Maine are sharpening their guillotines over the current crisis in Paris, the controversial firing of town manager Sharon Jackson, but their tongues sure have a razor’s edge.

“I have no faith; I have nothing in you,” thundered the town’s budget committee chairman, Forrie Everett, during a meeting Monday. “And I’ll do whatever the town asks me to do get you three [selectmen] out of here.”

Everett was referring to the three selectmen — David Ivey, Troy Ripley and Glen Young — who voted to fire Jackson suddenly about two weeks ago. So far, no cogent explanation has been offered to townspeople for their decision. It was simply made and that was that.

Selectmen are elected to represent the people, sure, but also be accountable to them. They are not royalty, free to decide matters of great importance without any explanation, self-assured of their infallibility by the privilege of being entrusted with great power and influence.

Ask Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette how that worked out for them.

There is anger in Paris. The selectmen caused this uproar by firing a town manager which, by even their own appraisals, was doing a respectable job. Either they had just cause — such as misuse of authority, mismanagement, corruption or pure incompetence — or they did not.

If they did, prompt disclosure of this reasoning is of utmost importance. Problems within the town’s governance — particularly when it may affect taxpayers — is a public concern. Obviously, something happened to alter the selectmen’s confidence in Jackson’s stewardship of the town.

And, obviously, because the vote to fire Jackson was 3-2, there is some dissension within the board.

Oftentimes, criticism of the town manager becomes a proxy for divisive issues among elected officials. If just cause is unapparent or unavailable for Jackson’s dismissal, she could be considered a martyr in the shakeup in power on the Paris board of selectmen.

Whichever the case, selectmen are doing themselves no favors by failing to recognize their public accountability for this action. They made a decision. Those who favored the firing should disclose why they did, while being respectful of the privacy given to personnel matters.

Failing to heed public concern has toppled a Paris before. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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