North Yarmouth selectmen stand by embattled town manager

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 Tuesday, with one abstention, to continue employing Town Manager Rosemary Roy.

The decision to negotiate a successor agreement to Roy’s current contract, which expires June 30, followed a two-hour executive session, board Chairman Steve Palmer said after the meeting.

The content of the new contract, including the length of the pact, are to be discussed in an executive session Tuesday, May 19, Palmer said.

Selectman Clark Whittier abstained because he is stepping down from the board June 30, the chairman said.

Speaking generally about Roy’s position, Palmer said, “it was important that the town have some consistency in the town management. We’ve had a lot of things come up this year that have to be dealt with; it wasn’t the greatest year for the board.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Roy, either, who was unanimously hired by selectmen in June 2014. In doing so, they passed over interim Manager Marnie Diffin and others who applied.

Roy last December fired Bill Young, one of the town’s two paramedics; the other paramedic, Jeff Toorish, had resigned the same day. Young, the former deputy chief of Emergency Medical Services, was later placed on administrative leave, with his firing rescinded.

That leave continued through March 24, when Young was told he could return to his job, Roy said.

Both men have claimed town officials violated their civil rights. Young, who in January filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission, filed notice last month that he intends to sue town officials unless a settlement is reached.

The past several months have also seen the town faced with important development decisions.

Residents are scheduled to vote in November on a proposal to redevelop North Yarmouth Memorial School as a municipal and community campus. If approved, the town would sell its existing Town Hall for housing or commercial development, a municipal sewer system would be created to help facilitate new development.

Roy was previously town manager in Poland, where 11 months after her November 2012 hiring selectmen voted unanimously to place her on administrative leave with pay, pending a contract status review, according their minutes.

Some board members said the decision was based on “personnel reasons that were discussed in executive session that couldn’t be discussed in open session.”

The decision sparked a movement to recall members of the Poland Board of Selectmen, by people who felt the board had acted improperly, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported in December 2013.

Roy said last June that her separation agreement prohibited her and the selectmen involved from discussing the end of her employment with Poland.

“There was nothing illegal, or anything like that,” she said, adding that when the selectmen announced their decision, they commended her for her two decades of service to Poland.

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

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.