Every town needs a Janet Jamison. Someone who will push, prod, provoke and just plain pester the good graces out of town officials.

No one has to like these people. But we do need to respect their standing as involved citizens.

Jamison is what you might call a proud political activist in Paris. When she believes town officials have done something wrong, she’s not afraid to speak up and say so. She’s opinionated, energetic and can be — in her fervor — abrasive. It’s a combination that has earned her plenty of criticism from officials, and plenty of support from ordinary citizens.

On Monday, Jamison was removed from her appointed position as a director on the Norway-Paris Solid Waste board by her fellow directors. This, in direct defiance of written instruction from Paris Town Manager Philip Tarr not to do so.

Jamison was appointed to the solid waste board by Paris selectmen to represent the citizens of that town. It is not, under the law, in the NPSW board’s authority to remove her.

Certain directors on that board have made it publicly apparent that they dislike Jamison, and disagree with her tactics, but dislike and disagreement are not good enough reasons to unseat her from her appointed post.

It is, according to the inter-local agreement that gave form to NPSW, the role of the member towns to appoint their representatives. There is, according to both Tarr and attorney Geoffrey Hole of Bernstein Shur, no lawful provision for NPSW to remove directors properly appointed by selectmen.

Hole’s assessment of the situation is quite stern, suggesting any court would clearly grasp this simple concept and that if “this creature of the two towns does not respect the towns’ wishes, it can be dissolved by the towns” under provision of the originating agreement.

Dissolving NPSW is an extreme step, but maybe one that ought to be considered, given the current board’s power play. Or is it a power grab?

What makes the whole episode even more disagreeable is that NPSW Director Joe Bracy voted with the majority in favor of Jamison’s removal, and then accepted appointment to her seat to extend his own term in office.

Bracy is from Paris, appointed by selectmen there and acting in defiance of their wishes, thumbing his nose at them and all citizens of Paris. That’s not public service.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.