PARIS — Citing her “confrontational” and “disrespectful” manner, selectmen Monday night denied Budget Committee member Janet Jamison’s application for another three-year term. 

The unanimous vote followed a frank and, at times, tense exchange between the board and Jamison. The discussion originally was scheduled for an executive session but Jamison requested it be held in an open meeting. 

Two weeks ago, the board appointed Debra Martin to the committee but did not assign her a seat. During Monday’s meeting, the board voted to appoint Martin to Jamison’s former seat, effectively denying her application for reappointment. 

Board of Selectmen Chairman Bob Kirchherr told Jamison she often had valuable insights and opinions to offer the town, but her comments were often derisive and personal. He said some residents told him they would not serve on committees with Jamison because of her behavior. 

“I appreciate your comments, I take what you say to heart,” Kirchherr told Jamison. “But your manner of presentation with people is very confrontational and I’m not comfortable with that in a committee situation.”

Jamison, who has served on the Budget Committee for six years, is a former selectman and has sat on a numerous boards and committees. She is a regular fixture at selectmen meetings and frequently questions the actions of selectmen and Town Manager Amy Bernard. 


Selectman Robert Wessels told Jamison his decision that she should not be reappointed to the committee had nothing to do with her comments at board meetings, but her “disrespectful” attitude in the committee.

Jamison rejected selectmen’s comments and suggested her gender and frequent questions of selectmen were really why she was being removed.

She accused board members of singling her out and trying to ruin her reputation because she had “upset” and “embarrassed” several members of the board. 

“People didn’t elect you to sit there and take out personal vendettas against fellow citizens,” Jamison said. 

She also suggested that her ouster was orchestrated by Bernard, leading to a short, tense exchange between the two, cut short by Kirchherr banging his gavel and raising his voice. 

If selectmen preferred to fill town committees with “bench warmers” who wouldn’t ask difficult questions it was their perogative, Jamison said. 


Fellow committee members Rick Little and Michael Risica defended Jamison’s actions to the Board of Selectmen. Little said other committee members “welcomed” Janet, while Risica said her “heart was in it 100 percent.”

Selectman Gerald Kilgore also spoke in Jamison’s defense, reminding Kirchherr that he was once called “rough around the edges.”

Wessels and Kirchherr reiterated that Jamison’s confrontational manner did not fit in to how committees should function.

Selectman Sam Elliot noted that characterizing other committee members as “bench warmers” was insulting.

“I’m not questioning the quality of your intellect, but the way you present your ideas is so confrontational … it makes people angry and upset; it makes people feel bad and not want to participate and that’s not the way that committees work,” Kirchherr told Jamison. 

Board members did not give Jamison a firm answer when she asked if they would deny her application to any town committee. 

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