NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 21, 2013

Selectmen to vote on removing official next week

Show of support Medeiros seen at hearing

(Continued)

When the video was over, Medeiros’ attorney Anthony Papoulias Jr. told selectmen he would speak for his client, who was present at the hearing, but would not address the board. His mission was simple, he said, he was there to try to change the minds of Beaulieu, Condon and Richenburg, the three who had shown their intent to remove Medeiros.

According to Papoulias, Medeiros’ behavior didn’t rise to the level of conduct unbecoming his office because he was speaking as a private citizen, not as the chairman of the town’s liquor licensing commission. And also because he didn’t really threaten the selectmen either by word or gesture.

“He didn’t say, ‘I’m going to get you later in the parking lot,’ ” Papoulias said.

In addition, Papoulias said, removing him from office for voicing his opinion — albeit in a loud and passionate manner — could be considered at an infringement on Medeiros’ Constitutional right to free speech.

Papoulias suggested the selectmen made their point about the need for people to remain respectful when disagreeing, and advocated for the board to hold a workshop on the subject in the future.

Calling Medeiros a man of “high moral character and professionalism,” Papoulias ended with a plea that selectmen change their minds and allow his client to keep his position as a town official.

Papoulias called his witnesses, both of whom serve on the Liquor Licensing Commission with Medeiros. The first, Kelly Richenburg, is an attorney and also the daughter-in-law of Selectman Henry Richenburg. She was not there to embarrass her father-in-law, she said, but rather to defend Medeiros.

Saying she didn’t believe Medeiros’ actions on July 1 crossed the line to warrant his removal, Kelly Richenburg said that, she, a trained litigator, has lost her temper and composure at times during stressful situations. Kelly Richenburg said after watching the July 1 tape several times, she believed that Bruce Arakelian’s behavior that was more offensive than Medeiros, a sentiment expressed by several others during the night.

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