NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 23, 2013

Process to remove Mederios begins

(Continued)

Knowles said after the July 1 meeting, Mederios wasn’t disrespectful but “passionate” in the way he expressed his “concerns” about the selectmen’s casino vote. Admitting Mederios’ behavior could be called “inappropriate,” Knowles didn’t see that it rose to the level of removal, adding selectmen might be seen as “small and petty” if they did so.

Hunt said it was Beaulieu’s behavior that led to Arakelian and Mederios getting so angry because Beaulieu laughed at their comments.

“(He) does an excellent job at what he does (on the commission),” Hunt said. “I see no reason whatsoever to remove him from his position.”

Beaulieu denied laughing at Mederios, saying he did smile.

“I said to myself, ‘This is a three-ring circus’ and it caused me to smile,” Beaulieu told Hunt. “If you think my smiling caused this issue, we’re far apart as to how government works.”

For the selectmen not to act after Mederios’ “demeaning actions” would send the wrong message, Beaulieu said. There are acceptable ways for residents and officials to disagree with selectmen’s actions, Beaulieu said, but Mederios’ performance was far from that.

Former Liquor Licensing Commissioner Chuck Colburn tried to speak in defense of Mederios during the meeting, but was cut off by Richenburg, the chairman of the Board of Selectmen. Colburn complained vigorously, as did others there to support Mederios, but Richenburg would have none of it. Salisbury police Chief Tom Fowler was at the meeting to keep order.

The agenda did not list that comments from visitors would be accepted and there would be none, Richenburg said. Mederios has five days after receiving the notice of intent for his removal to request a public hearing, Richenburg said. If he does so, then public comments will be allowed at the hearing.

As others protested the inability to speak, Mederios called the selectmen “bullies.”

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