SABATTUS — Selectmen met Tuesday night  in executive session to discuss a possible lawsuit against the town and town manager by former fire Chief Don Therrien, who earlier this month became the town’s newest selectman.

Therrien won’t be sworn in until next week.

Two weeks before the Nov. 5 elections, Town Manager Andrew Gilmore released a memo about Therrien’s abrupt departure as chief last March.

Gilmore said he’d consulted with the town’s attorney after fielding questions from residents who wanted more details. In the memo, he wrote that Therrien was given the option to resign or be fired after discovering payroll irregularities.

The town spent $3,800 on a lawyer and an investigator who went over the Fire Department’s books. Gilmore said no money was missing.

At the time, Therrien said he could explain the irregularities — he’d been paying the husband and wife Emergency Management Services directors with one stipend check, in the husband’s name, instead of two checks, not realizing he shouldn’t.


On Nov. 1, Lewiston attorney Edward Rabasco Jr. sent Gilmore a letter saying Therrien had retained him.

“It is with shock and disbelief that I write to you,” Rabasco wrote. “Your ‘memorandum’ that you disseminated to the entire town staff and to the press is the most egregious breach of the Municipal Personnel Records law . . . that I have ever seen.”

He cited economic damages to Therrien in being forced to resign, harm to his reputation and emotional distress.

On Nov. 5, Therrien earned the most votes in the field of six candidates, securing a seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Rabasco said Tuesday that the lawsuit had not yet been filed.

“We want to give the town an opportunity to engage in settlement discussions, if they want to,” he said.


In a response to Rabasco, Linda McGill of Bernstein Shur wrote, “Mr. Gilmore’s memorandum contained analysis about what was and what was not a matter of public record regarding Mr. Therrien’s former employment by the town.”

McGill said it is apparent the “memorandum was not intended to injure Mr. Therrien.”

The special meeting called for a closed-door discussion of personnel matters and potential litigation. Gilmore said he didn’t anticipate it would include any public discussion.

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