NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 13, 2013

Selectmen consider removal of official

Recall of board members also investigated

SALISBURY — The town is simmering with a variety of threats that could remove both elected and appointed officials from office.

The first challenge came on July 1, when resident and Salisbury Liquor Licensing Commission Chairman Gil Mederios said he’d start a petition to recall selectmen Don Beaulieu, Freeman Condon and Henry Richenburg because their votes put an end to a proposal to build a 190,000 slot casino/garage complex on Route 110. Mederios, a proponent of the slots-only casino, announced his intention after taking the three men to task following the board’s 3 to 2 vote against negotiating a hosting agreement with the Cordish Companies, a Maryland casino developer.

Although selectmen Ed Hunt and Fred Knowles voted to give negotiations a try, Cordish lost its bet in Salisbury basically due to timing concerns. Beaulieu, Condon and Richenburg felt the 17-day deadline to execute a contract with Cordish wasn’t enough time to hammer out a deal that would protected Salisbury from the impacts gambling would bring, especially traffic.

Mederios stood after the vote, complaining the three selectmen’s decision was “disgusting.” Mederios berated the men for not trying to work out a casino agreement with Cordish, so residents could vote the contract up or down at the required local referendum.

According to Town Clerk Wilma McDonald, Mederios visited her office twice since the meeting to investigate Salisbury Home Rule Charter’s complex process for recalling elected officials. Mederios refused to tell the Daily News if he’s going forward with a recall, saying he didn’t like the way the paper reported the casino story.

Then, at a special Board of Selectmen meeting held this week, the board decided it would meet again on Monday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. At the special meeting the only agenda item will be to consider taking action under Section 7-8 of the town charter to remove or suspend an appointed town official.

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