PARIS — Selectmen want to meet with their counterparts from Norway to address concerns with the operation of the Norway-Paris Community TV board of directors. 

Board members also voted to formally discipline NPC-TV board member Rick Kimball, who was involved with another board member in a physical altercation at a meeting in September.

“His behavior was unacceptable and regardless of what next step the joint boards take, I believe a letter of reprimand would be appropriate,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Robert Kirchherr said.

In an interview Tuesday, Kirchherr clarified that the board was not following proper procedures in terms of keeping minutes, posting public notices of meeting times and having agendas. 

“This has been something I’ve been talking about, but I don’t seem to be getting the message across,” Kirchherr said.

“My personal opinion, based on the meetings I have attended, is that this board is not functioning appropriately,” he said.

During Monday’s meeting, several residents expressed concerns that the board was acting outside its authority and operating contrary to the NPC-TV ordinance, charter and by-laws.

Selectman Ryan Lorrain, at Monday’s meeting, said he had not been to any NPC-TV meetings but it appeared the group was not operating well.

“It doesn’t seem very well-structured,” he said. “It seems like this would be exactly what would happen in a group run like that. It doesn’t work very well.”

Kirchherr told fellow selectmen that, in his opinion, the board should be dissolved. 

Norway Town Manager David Holt said he had been made aware of the Paris selectmen’s concerns and intended to work on an agenda for a possible meeting with Paris Town Manager Amy Bernard. The next Norway selectmen meeting is Feb. 6. 

NPC-TV board Chairman Matthew Gurney was not available for an interview Tuesday evening. 

The six-member NPC-TV board is made up of an equal number of representatives from Norway and Paris, appointed by their respective selectmen.

Last summer, the board was brought up to full strength for the first time in years and members spoke enthusiastically about a promising future for the organization. 

Issues with the NPC-TV board came to light at a selectmen meeting on Jan. 13 when Kimball, in open session, denied allegations that he had started a physical altercation with Bruce Cook, a Norway board member, at a meeting in September. 

Selectmen requested Kimball’s attendance at an executive session to talk about the incident in October, but he was unable to make it until Jan. 13.

The incident appears to have been touched off when a discussion about buying camera equipment at an NPC-TV meeting on Sept. 18 at the Norway Town Office escalated into a heated exchange between Kimball and Cook that culminated in a “chest-bump” between the two men. 

There are conflicting accounts of what happened, but Kimball denied he initiated the interaction and told selectmen Cook sent him an email the evening of the meeting to apologize for his actions.

Gurney and board member Lou Page, both from Norway, affirmed Kimball’s version of events at the Jan. 13 meeting. 

On Tuesday, Cook agreed that he and Kimball had patched things up. “It’s buried,” he said.

“When you get a group of people together who are all volunteers, with varying levels of experience, there’s going to be bumps in the road,” Cook said, noting that there were some strong differences of opinion between members on the board.

Cook, who sits on several other nonprofit boards as well as serving as a selectman, stepped down from his seat on the NPC-TV board earlier this month, due to his other obligations, he said.

NPC-TV Director Steve Galvin, also on Jan. 13, told selectmen that Kimball took it upon himself, without direction from the NPC-TV board, to call vendors and allegedly berate them for using “underhanded” sales techniques.

Galvin said he had to perform “damage control” to smooth out issues with vendors he has worked with for years.

“I didn’t feel like it was a good representation of the town or the station,” Galvin said.  

Kimball said at the Jan. 13 meeting that he had not acted inappropriately and although he admitted to contacting vendors, he flatly denied he had spoken inappropriately to anyone. 

In an interview Tuesday, Kimball said all of the accusations against him were false and denied he had overstepped his authority by contacting vendors. 

“I have a right to call the vendor up; I’m a board member,” Kimball said. 

On Tuesday, Kirchherr said conversations with vendors suggested Kimball had acted inappropriately. The Board of Selectmen voted 4-1, with Gerald Kilgore voting against, to draft a formal letter of reprimand for Kimball. 

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.

filed under: