NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 31, 2013

After ouster, Medeiros may sue town

(Continued)

Papoulias added, that “It’s the principle of the issue,” that has Medeiros contemplating a legal battle.

Accorded to the published reports, those cases involved actions taken by boards of selectmen against two appointed town officials that were either removed or virtually removed from their offices. The ACLU took both cases and filed lawsuits against selectmen. Although neither went to court, the lawsuits led to cash settlements of $35,000 in each case, and selectmen allowing both individuals to remain in office.

According to published reports, in the 2012 case of Peter Waasdorp versus Falmouth, selectmen removed him from his seat on the Conservation Commission due to a harassment complaint made by the commission’s chairwoman. She told selectmen Waasdorp sent her more than 40 “offensive” emails over a two-week period in relation to a vote on a 20-year lease of town cranberry bogs.

In Shirley, selectmen took out a “no trespass order,” against Finance Committee member Robert Schuler, virtually preventing him from taking part in future meetings. The action came after a May 2011 Finance Committee, when Schuler expressed his frustration concerning the way selectmen were handling a pending budget deadline. According to published reports, Schuler said the board’s slowness in acting made him want to “pull my gun out and start shooting or something.”

Called for comment, Town Manager Neil Harrington said he’s left to wonder why Medeiros is fighting “to be reinstated to a position to which a majority of the Board (of Selectmen) believe he is unqualified to serve, due to his actions.”

The position on the Liquor License Commission, a board of seven people appointed by selectmen, oversees the distribution of the town’s limited supply of licenses to serve beer, wine and liquor, on a seasonal and year round basis. Commissioners also supervise licensees, sometimes visiting establishments that sell alcohol to the public to ensure they’re following the rules. When infractions of the state’s regulations are found, either by commissioners or those from other agencies, commissioners hold hearings and can discipline license holders, either through suspension or revocation of licenses.

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