, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 19, 2013

Controversy erupts over selectman's resignation

Other candidates don't like plan to fill seat


Wood, who was at Town Hall on Friday afternoon, said selectmen have again worked improperly behind closed doors to decide an issue that should have been publicly handled.

“It’s not about losing the election, because I’ve lost elections before,” Wood said. “It’s about the process. It’s about a lack of transparency. That’s why I ran, to make sure things happen the right way.”

In addition, Knowles said, he filed for a recount of the selectmen’s race, and everything should have been put on hold until the recount is completed. The recount is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m., he said.

Small didn’t comment yesterday on how his successor should be determined or appointed. However, he said the reason he declined to serve after being elected was because of the mounting stress he felt both during and after the race.

A former Seabrook selectman and Hampton Falls town administrator for decades, Small said after retiring he was urged to run for office by Khan. But as the pressure of the election mounted, Small, who has a history of coronary illness, began to question the wisdom of his decision.

“My purpose for running at the time was because I thought I could help out the town,” Small said. “But the election became very stressful.”

The Friday before Tuesday’s election, Small said he experienced symptoms similar to those he had six years ago, when he had a coronary event that landed him in the hospital.

“I had been through so much anxiety over this,” Small said yesterday. “And I know that stress and heart attacks go hand in hand. I thought I should get out now, let them appoint someone to replace me and let the town move forward.”

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