PARIS — A special selectmen’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Aug. 31, to discuss two formal complaints lodged against Norway-Paris Solid Waste Chair and Norway-Paris Community Television Committee member Janet Jamison.
Paris Selectboard Chairman Scott Buffington announced the complaints against Jamison – who was selectboard chair until she was defeated in June by Gary Vaughn – at the Monday, Aug. 28, selectmen’s meeting. At Monday’s meeting and again on Tuesday, Aug. 29, in a phone interview, Jamison called the complaints “a thinly veiled witch hunt” and retaliation for her speaking up.
The first letter was dated July 11 and penned by Norway-Paris Community Television Committee member Rick Little.
“Due to the harassment and abuse I took at a board meeting this Spring from Janet Jamison I had decided not to renew my application,” he wrote. “After speaking with Pete Morton, the station manager, I decided to renew with reservations.”
“Rick and I have never ever had a sharp word between us so that letter really floors me,” Jamison said Tuesday. “The only thing we have disagreed on in the past, [is] we have that other guy that works there, Anthony, he works 33 hours a week. We should buy his insurance.”
In his letter, Little wrote about Jamison noticing a $1.86 charge to Aubuchon Hardware, as Little takes care of the books for the TV station.
“After many forceful demands that came with pounding her fist on the table, Pete tried to find the receipt. When he couldn’t find it she got very upset and demanded that she see every receipt for expenses since the station is getting spent into the ground without anyone paying attention,” Little wrote. “A direct accusation against me. The station has more money in the bank than ever before.”
Jamison said she has never hit a table, nor would she “throw a fit” over a $1.86 charge.
“I may raise my voice. I know that’s civil disobedience for a woman to do that,” she said. “For Rick Little to make this about him that I am impugning his character or whatever, this is ridiculous. … If anything, I have only tried to hold costs down and expect accountability. I have always done that on the other boards I have been on.”
In his letter, Little said he “will never sit on a board with her again.” He said he would either email the financial statements and work in to the board or Jamison should be removed from the board or he should leave the board … .
“Not sure of any other solution,” he wrote.
The second complaint was filed by Norway-Paris Solid Waste Committee member Corey Roberge in a Aug. 15 letter to selectmen informing them “of a certain board members [sic] act of self doing with out the NPSW boards [sic] approval.”
He wrote the board was discussing implementing an in-house safety program at the Transfer Station and Jamison disagreed and wanted to call in SafetyWorks!
“Her decision was made without prior discussion or investigation of this program,” Roberge wrote. “After a short back and forth discussion with Janet on how decisions like this need to be voted on the board in [sic] a whole, she put her hands up towards my face, and again instructed Warren [Sessions, NPSW manager] to Call [SafetyWorks!]. The matter was put to rest.”
Jamison said she didn’t recall it happening that way.
“If I raised my hand it was a defensive maneuver to shield myself from his aggressive speech towards me,” she said.
Roberge wrote there was a safety inspection done by Mary Matthews of SafetyWorks! and he was “informed the employees of the transfer station were not informed, neither was the board.”
Jamison said Vern Maxfield was the committee chairman before she was elected as chair and “Vern was always the touchstone on a day-to-day basis.” This included calling him when a question needed to be answered or if there was a problem.
“Somewhere in writing, I will put my hand on it today, it says something to the effect of the chair serves as the day-to-day management,” Jamison said. “I believe I am within my rights for what I have done.”
“Between the lone wolf decision making and degrading remarks made to board members and especially the workers of the transfer station, Morale is at a all time low,” Roberge wrote. “It was brought to my attention a transfer station employee is ready to file suit for workplace harassment if nothing is done.”
Jamison said she does not know what Roberge is talking about regarding the employee.
She added, in July Roberge stated at that meeting that he wanted to be chairman of the board and run for chairman, noting he has only served on the board for one year.
“The thing is he can’t round up the support from the other people [on the board],” she said.
Jamison said she was removed from the Norway-Paris Solid Waste Board, along with every other member of that board, “not that long ago.” That issue had to do with the nonprofit organization wanting to use the state’s rules governing nonprofits and not the inter-town agreement between Norway and Paris, she said. Jamison was reappointed to the board after that.
Tonight’s meeting will be held at the Paris Town Office, 33 Market Square.