PARIS — A lawyer for the former town manager has amended an appeal against the town to include additional charges, including violations of constitutional rights.

Bryan Dench, attorney for Sharon Jackson, filed the amended complaint in Oxford County Superior Court. It charges the town’s Board of Selectmen with violations of state law, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Constitution, as well as negligence and defamation. The appeal retains the past charges of breach of contract, failure of timely payment of wages, and violation of the Maine Freedom of Access Law, as well as requests that the court review the board’s vote and declare that Jackson’s contract remains in effect.

Selectmen voted 3-2 in June to terminate Jackson’s contract, which would have extended her employment to 2014 and provided for salary raises to $1,233 per week this year and $1,308 next year. The board has since hired Michael Thorne, former town manager of Harrison and Raymond, as interim manager to work 25 hours a week with a weekly pay of $600.

In the original charges, Dench argues that a 1999 town meeting warrant article sets July 1 as the first day a municipal officer can take office. He argues that Troy Ripley, who was elected in the June referendum, should not have been on the board when he voted in favor of firing Jackson on June 22.

The appeal also accuses Ripley and the two other selectmen who voted in favor of ending her contract of holding “clandestine meetings or communications outside the lawful sessions of the board of selectmen” prior to the June 22 vote. Chairman David Ivey previously denied any such meetings.

The new charges state that the board violated state law by not filing a preliminary resolution with the town clerk giving a specific reason for Jackson’s removal, or giving Jackson a copy of such a resolution. Jackson was fired without cause, an action allowed under the contract as long as she receives compensation.

The appeal also argues that Jackson was denied due process under the Fifth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution; that the town failed to supervise the selectmen in the training of municipal officers; and that Jackson’s termination defamed her by placing her in a “false light.”


The revised lawsuit asks for a finding that the selectmen violated the Maine Freedom of Access Act. It also requests that any vote taken based on “unlawful deliberations or discussions” be declared null and void, and that Jackson be awarded damages including attorney’s fees.


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