Dixfield Public Works Department employee Randy Glover, left, was presented with a legislative sentiment by Rep. Richard Pickett, R-Dixfield, at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

DIXFIELD — Town Manager Carlo Puiia told those at Monday night’s selectmen meeting that members of the board had no part in his decision to close the Police Department in December.

Puiia closed the department Dec. 28, 2016, and put Chief Jeffrey Howe on administrative leave for failing to report for duty, not giving attention to his duties and failing to care for town property, according to a Jan. 11 letter to Howe from Puiia.

The department reopened Jan. 29 after Howe served a suspension of 10 scheduled patrol days without pay.

Puiia denied an “insinuation that there may have been some sort of conspiracy with what took place with the Police Department.”

“It was explained to me that maybe some members of the board had a hand in this,” Puiia said. “I want to assure the public that that was absolutely not the case.

“In fact, I don’t think this board knew anymore than the public did until maybe they read the chief’s letter to the editor in the Rumford Falls Times, where he explained his side of the story.”

He emphasized that the decision was entirely up to him and the board had nothing to do with it.

In other business, Randy Glover, head of the Public Works Department said his crew is getting caught up with snow removal.

“The guys put in some long hours, but stayed in good spirits and stayed ahead of it,” he said. 

The town’s supply of sand and salt is in good shape, he said, and roads have been posted to restrict vehicles over a certain limit.

Rep. Richard Pickett, R-Dixfield, presented Glover with a certificate from the 128th Legislature, acknowledging him as Dixfield’s Employee of the Year for 2016 and his outstanding commitment, dedication and performance.

Pickett, a former Dixfield police chief, said he was thrilled when Glover got the opportunity to take over the department. He has served in it for over 25 years.

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