NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 22, 2013

Outgoing selectman fears return of 'circus' days

Kelly uses final meeting to deliver sharp message

SEABROOK — After losing his bid for re-election last week, Selectman Brendan Kelly used his last meeting to address some of his most vocal critics and bid them a not-so-fond farewell.

In a prepared statement, he called a recount that has arisen out of the election for his seat a further move to return what he sees as the “circus” atmosphere that had once punctuated the Board of Selectmen.

Kelly saw his-six year tenure as selectman come to an end when he placed fourth out of a field of six candidates in last Tuesday’s election.

Eric Small topped the field, but later declined to accept the seat citing health concerns.

In addition, Paul Knowles, who finished last in the race, has requested a recount, which is set to be conducted today.

At Wednesday’s meeting, only Kelly, who remained on the board pending the completion of the recount, and Selectman Aboul Khan were in attendance, with Selectman Ed Hess absent.

Kelly moved, and Khan approved, tabling all agenda items except one, which concerned approving a state form that had to be submitted by April 1.

Kelly said he voted to approve the form in light of Hess’ absence, saying the town would miss the deadline without his vote.

“I didn’t expect to be here tonight,” said Kelly, who found himself in the position of serving until the recount was completed. “I have no intention of voting on anything that should be handled by the new board.”

Two of the other losing selectmen’s candidates — Maria Brown and Paula Wood — used the meeting as an opportunity to take Kelly and Khan to task for the way they handled Small’s decision not to serve.

Both women believe selectmen should have discussed the issue in an open meeting instead of meeting privately with town counsel, calling the private meeting a violation of state law.

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