BLANDFORD – Adam Dolby chair of the Blandford Selectboard, submitted his resignation effective at the end of the meeting on Monday. Dolby said his decision was the direct result of threats made by fellow selectman William Levakis, who was not present at the meeting.
Prior to Dolby making the announcement that he would be resigning, Attorney Timothy D. Zessin of KP Law convened a public hearing with respect to Bryan Young, a member of the Conservation Commission, and an incident that occurred between Young and Blandford Highway Director Brad Curry.
Zessin said that Young tried to intimidate Curry following an Executive Board session on Feb. 20 regarding an employee, in an attempt to change Curry’s mind. He then left the office of the Selectboard, taking another selectman with him. Several people witnessed the incident, according to Zessin, who said he was not present at the meeting.
Asked if that was an accurate representation of the events, Dolby said it was a “diplomatic one.”
“It left me with an uncomfortable feeling,” Dolby added, saying he was concerned enough to discuss having a hearing for the removal of Bryan Young from the Conservation Commission.
At that point, Young, who had been in a Conservation Commission meeting, joined the Selectboard meeting, saying he heard he was being sued.
Dolby said there was no litigation. “We felt as a result of behavior at the meeting of Feb. 20, it wasn’t appropriate for you to be representing (the town).”
“I was not hostile or threatening,” Young said, despite what he called the circulation of a recording of his outburst made without his knowledge or consent.
Selectman Cara Letendre, who was present Monday and at the meeting in question, said she had her phone at the ready at the Feb. 20 meeting to call 911 because she felt threatened. Letendre said the recording was made by the Selectboard recorder that happened to be running following the emergency adjournment of that meeting.
Young said he called Curry a name, which Dolby and Letendre said was not the name he called him. Using expletives, Young said he could say whatever he wanted, and called it “workshop banter.”
“The First Amendment entitles you to speak your mind. It doesn’t mean you are free from consequences,” Dolby said.
“Fire me, I don’t care. It’s an unpaid job,” Young said, defending his right to conduct himself in that way in certain situations. “Wherever I go on my job, I carry myself professionally and courteously,” he said, before quitting with a series of expletives.
Town clerk Laurie Boucher said Young had not been served notice until Monday, making the public hearing null and void. Letendre said she had the constable serve him notice last week, and also signed and dated a letter she sent to Young.
“For the record, Mr. Young voluntarily resigned as a member of the Conservation Commission,” said Zessin to close the public hearing.
Dolby then said there was probably not a better time for him to segueway to his decision, which came as a surprise to most of the 30 some people attending the meeting. ”This was a great example of the treatment presented to the Selectboard of late,” Dolby said.
He said he had recently had a call from a prospective employer, and spent 45 minutes on the phone with him explaining why there was so much vitriol against him on a Facebook page Levakis created, which claims to be the “most up to date information site” about Blandford. The prospective employer wanted to know why people were making threats against him.
The conversation caused Dolby to review the page, where he found 30 posts targeting him, and an equal number targeting Letendre.
Dolby, who is a lieutenant and EMT in the Blandford Fire Department, said he is used to a certain amount of risk when he goes on a call for them. He said he does not accept that his wife and his young daughters are fearful for him when he goes to Selectboard meetings. “Tonight, my little girls were in tears, afraid I was going to get hurt,” he said before announcing this would be his last meeting. He also requested that his name be taken off the ballot for reelection.
“I am fine with political criticism. I am not okay with implications against my character, Cara (Letendre’s) character, and not okay with threats,” Dolby said.
Letendre said she and town hall employees have also felt unsafe. She said she was “heartbroken” to see Dolby go, but when she became a selectman last year, Levakis had told her she couldn’t do it because she is a girl. Letendre said she would not resign, to applause from the room.
“After 22 years in the Marine Corps and 45 years in the military, I have never seen this much dissension in a small town,” said retired EMT Robert “Bob” Costello. “As far as Adam goes, years back I sponsored him for Blandford Fire. He has always acquitted himself with the epitome of professionalism,” he added.
“My view is, it takes two people to have an argument. I don’t want to participate in this one any longer,” Dolby said. “My first responsibility is to my family, which is why I’m making this decision,” he added.