NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen voted Monday night not to recognize a Nov. 4 executive session as improper. The session preceded a vote to cut the bookkeeper’s hours from 40 to 24 per week starting Jan. 2 and to hire an interim finance director for six months.

Selectman Joshua McHenry’s motion also included that the board release to the public the memo sent to selectmen by Town Manager Sumner Field III, and that each selectman state their reason for their vote.

The Nov. 4 vote was 3-2, with Chairman Steve Libby, Linda Chase and Nat Berry IV supporting the changes and McHenry and Mark Stevens opposing it.

Monday’s vote was identical: Libby, Chase and Berry opposed McHenry’s motion; McHenry and Stevens backed it.

More than 25 people at Monday’s meeting supported having the board’s Nov. 4 vote rescinded and restoring the bookkeeper’s position to full time.

Bookkeeper/Deputy Treasurer Sandy Sacco, a 25-year town employee, will see her job go from a 40-hour workweek with full benefits to a 24-hour workweek with no benefits. The benefits include health insurance, vacation and sick time.


No one spoke Monday night in support of the board’s Nov. 4 action.

Libby turned off the microphones to the cable-recorded part of the meeting until it was pointed out that it was illegal.

Resident Kathleen Potter asked the board to explain why a different process was used to reduce and add the staff positions at a time when a new town manager is coming aboard and the town office staff faces additional tasks related to ambulance transport records and public water district billing service starting next year.

“Previously, staff reductions in New Gloucester have been discussed in the budgeting process,” Potter said, “and then brought to the public to vote on at our town meeting.”

Potter said the reason for the executive session was flawed because it was a budget issue, the bookkeeper was not included.

“You bypassed the policy of the town process that all of us have gone through,” she said. “This was not an executive session protocol unless she did something wrong. You cannot eliminate a job in executive session.”


Libby said the town attorney defended the executive session.

“What are we going to do about your tromping all over the policies of this town?” Potter asked. “This is a very bad precedent for the town.”

Resident Scott Doyle asked why the town manager spends 40 percent of his time on financials.

“Why hasn’t it been an issue for the last five years” since Field was hired? he asked.

“You are replacing a 25-year employee who has worked the front counter and as bookkeeper for the past seven years. Why did you make that recommendation?” he asked.

Selectman Linda Chase, who made the motion to change the bookkeeper’s job and add a finance director, said it was “for the best interest of the town to have a finance director.” She said the issue was never discussed prior to the closed session.


“I don’t know why you did what you did,” said resident Tom Joy. “I don’t know what’s been going on with the leaders here for the past five years. I don’t understand what’s gone on in your head. You have created another firestorm and created a hardship with another employee.”

Sean Chayer asked about the pay for the interim finance director.

“There is a great possibility it could be offered to Sumner,” he said.

“There’s not an ounce of integrity in this town,” resident Steve Hathorne said. “How embarrassing. You guys are putting square pegs into round holes.”

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