Did break-in lead to Chebeague official's resignation?

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Holt elected to replace Dyer on board

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Voters at a special Town Meeting on Nov. 19 elected a successor to former Selectman Mark Dyer.

Elected town officials continued to provide little information about why Dyer suddenly resigned in October. The town administrator, however, confirmed that Dyer quit after he allegedly forced his way into the town garage.

Mary Holt, a special educator with the Chebeague Island School District, was elected by written ballot with 78 votes to complete Dyer’s term, which expires in 2013. Margaret Vaughan was also nominated from the floor, but she declined to run.

The Board of Selectmen accepted Dyer’s resignation on Oct. 26. In a brief note to the board, Dyer – who had served on the board since Chebeague Island became a town in 2007, and was chairman during part of that time – said he had “enjoyed serving the people of Chebeague Island with you.”

He did not disclose a reason for his resignation and has not responded to requests for further comment.

But an anonymous letter to The Forecaster, postmarked Nov. 14, said a selectman “thinking no one was in the Town Garage during regular hours” pryed the back door open with a crow bar and was discovered by an employee working there.

The letter said the employee reported the incident “to the Town Administrator who not only did not file a police report but also, either directly or thru (sic) involvement of the other (selectmen) did nothing more than allow that selectman to resign and now are also … allowing him … to serve on town committees.”

When a reporter read him the letter on Nov. 17, Town Administrator Eric Dyer – no relation to Mark Dyer – said that was “generally about what happened.”

When asked if the selectman the letter described was Mark Dyer, Eric Dyer replied that it was, adding that “I don’t want to say any more than that at this point.”

Eric Dyer said there was no damage to the door that Dyer allegedly pried open, and that Dyer remains an alternate on the Road Plan Committee.

Board of Selectman Chairman David Hill declined on Nov. 17 to discuss the matter. But he did say that “Mark Dyer has been involved with the town (since) long before it became a town. He was instrumental in us becoming a town, he was on the secession committee that went to the Legislature, he was on the transition team … that brought us through becoming a town on the first of July of 2007, and he’s served on the Board of Selectmen ever since, and I believe our community owes him a great debt of gratitude for all he’s done for us.”

He added that “there are no charges pending … there are no complaints out there I know of from anybody who’s willing to identify themselves, and that makes it a non-issue in my book.”

Hill moved at the Nov. 19 special Town Meeting that the assembly there extend a vote of appreciation to Dyer for his service. Voters approved that motion, followed by applause.

“It’s just simple as (that) he needed a break,” Selectman Herb Maine said of Dyer. “He needed some time off, and that happens to people.”

Asked about the information in the anonymous letter, Selectman John Martin noted that Dyer had submitted his letter of resignation, and that the board had accepted it, adding that “that’s all I’ve got for you.”

Selectman Chris Rich said he did not have anything to add. He did say Dyer “was deeply committed to (the town), that’s for sure. … I’m sorry to see somebody that’s committed get done.”

Resident Peter Rice, who served as the meeting’s moderator, said he did not know anything about the circumstances behind Dyer’s resignation. He did say that “I like Mark a lot … I’m sorry to see him go.”

Other items approved by Town Meeting included:

• A secret ballot process for Town Meeting, to replace the written ballot process; voting for selectmen and School Committee members will take place at polls instead of at the open meeting. Eligible candidates would have to file nomination papers at least 45 days before election day for their names to be printed on the ballot.

• A multi-year contract with chebeague.net, and the appropriation of $25,000 to fulfill the financial obligation in the contract and secure long-term Internet services for the residents, organizations and town.

• Firearms, building and dog control ordinances.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.