March 11, 2013

Turmoil roils Old Orchard Beach politics

Four town managers have come and gone in 10 years, and the atmosphere is getting uglier.

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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After a series of hostile council meetings, Town Manager Mark Pearson was fired last week in a 4-3 vote, and his attorney is threatening a lawsuit.

"What they've done is invite a very serious lawsuit against the taxpayers of Old Orchard Beach," Richardson said.

Richardson also said the council's decision to fire Pearson has given the town a black eye and hurt its ability to hire a qualified replacement.

Councilor Michael Coleman, who voted against Pearson's firing, agrees. "Who in the world is going to want to be manager of this town knowing you're here one day and gone the next?" he asked his fellow councilors last Tuesday.

"I don't know what lies in store for Old Orchard Beach, but it's not going to be good," said Councilor Robin Dayton, who was emphatic with her vote against firing Pearson.

MacDonald said she wants to turn the focus away from the recent meetings and back to strengthening communication among the council, town employees and residents. Laura Bolduc, the vice-chairwoman, agrees.

"I've never seen such a lack of communication between the administration and council and an inability for the board to have a healthy dialogue," Bolduc said in a recent interview. "I just want people to start acting professional. There is no need for all of the divisiveness."

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@mainetoday.com

Twitter: grahamgillian

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