PARIS — Selectmen unanimously approved a contract Monday for interim Town Manager Michael Thorne as controversy continued over the firing of the previous manager.

The two-page contract stipulates that Thorne will be paid $600 for a 25-hour work-week. His attendance at meetings of town boards or committees will count as compensatory time toward those hours, and he will not receive benefits aside from those required by law, such as Social Security.

The contract also reimburses Thorne for expenses incurred in carrying out town business, allows him to live outside the town, and agrees to defend and indemnify him from any claim arising out of his work as interim town manager.

Thorne was hired last month to fill in for some duties of Sharon Jackson, who was fired by the board in a 3-2 decision June 22. Thorne, who previously served as the town manager of Harrison and Raymond, was filling in for Town Clerk Anne Pastore, who declined to accept the board’s decision to appoint her as interim town manager shortly after Jackson’s contract was terminated.

Thorne said he usually works Monday through Wednesday, but is flexible in his hours and sometimes leaves early on Wednesday to put in hours Friday.

Resident Robert Jewell said he felt the interim manager needs to work more than part-time to catch up with work and become acquainted with town business. Jewell said he also believed the board needed to determine what it was looking for in terms of duties of the town manager before they signed a contract.

“I think we’re asking for trouble if you don’t have a very strong manager managing this town at this time,” he said.

Jackson’s contract was terminated without cause, a condition allowed under the contract provided she is compensated for a period of time based on the number of years of service to the town. Jackson has since appealed the board’s decision to the Oxford County Superior Court, seeking reinstatement of her contract.

Criticism of the board at recent meetings has focused on the decision to hold meetings at the town office rather than the fire station, since the town office has a lower capacity and was unable to fit all residents that came to the meetings. Monday marked the first meeting since Jackson’s termination that was held at the fire station, and Jewell congratulated the board for making the decision.

Jackson’s termination continued to be a subject on some residents’ minds during the portion of the meeting that allows public comment. Resident Franca Ainsworth said she was unable to comment at two meetings because the town office was filled to capacity.

“The quiet majority of our town is furious with the behavior of this board,” she said.

Ainsworth said the board made a mistake in firing Jackson, and she also criticized the method in which Thorne was hired.

The board unanimously approved hiring Thorne as an interim town manager, but Selectmen Raymond Glover, Lloyd “Skip” Herrick, and Glen Young said they had been unaware that Thorne had approached the town about filling the vacancy.

Resident Greg Harris said he had not seen any proof of wrongdoing in the board’s actions.

“You may not agree with every decision they make, but that doesn’t matter,” Harris said. “I don’t think anybody up there has done anything wrong.”

In another item, the board accepted the resignation of Dr. William Whitney as local health officer. According to a letter read by Herrick, Whitney submitted his resignation due to the “unwarranted dismissal” of Jackson.

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