SALISBURY — With a vote of 3 to 2 at a special meeting yesterday, selectmen took the first step in removing Gil Mederios from his seat on the town’s Liquor Licensing Commission.
Yesterday’s unprecedented vote came three weeks after the July 1 selectmen’s meeting when Mederios publicly berated Selectmen Donald Beaulieu, Freeman Condon and Henry Richenburg after they voted against working to bring a slot casino to town. At the time, Mederios rose and shouted at the three selectmen, repeatedly calling them “disgusting” because they refused to meet a 17-day deadline to negotiate a contract with Maryland casino developer Cordish Companies.
Joined by Haverhill resident Bruce Arakelian, who owned the land upon which the casino would have been built, the two men loudly criticized selectmen while standing in the center of the Colchester meeting room, pointing their fingers at them and promising repercussions. Arakelian told the three selectmen their tenure on the board was over, specifically advising Beaulieu not to bother to run again and chastising him for having a smile on his face.
Mederios’ three-minute rant ended with a similar vow.
“I’m going to put a petition together to recall you guys,” Mederios shouted as he left the auditorium.
It was Beaulieu’s request at a July 11 selectmen’s meeting that led to yesterday’s special meeting to remove a then unnamed appointed official from office. And yesterday it was Beaulieu who, in accordance with Salisbury’s Home Rule Charter, brought the motion to send a “notice of intent to remove” Mederios from his position on Salisbury’s Liquor Licensing Commission, to which the board had appointed him.
The reason, Beaulieu said, was because of “conduct unbecoming his office” at the July 1 meeting, again a stipulated reason listed in section 7-8 of the town charter.
Selectmen Fred Knowles and Ed Hunt tried to sway the vote, speaking up for Mederios. Both selectmen said after watching Mederios run the Liquor Licensing Commission meetings over the years, they believe he did an excellent job as the commission’s chairman.