WINDHAM – Bill Tracy, who has served as chairman of the Windham Town Council since he was elected last November, resigned in an open e-mail to his fellow councilors dated Monday, Nov. 8.

Tracy is the third Windham councilor to leave the council prematurely in the last two months. Carol Waig resigned at the Sept. 14 meeting citing harassment from Tracy. And two weeks ago, Councilor Donna Chapman withdrew her name from Nov. 2’s election citing similar intimidation from Tracy as well as Ken Cole III, the town’s longtime attorney.

In his letter, Tracy offered few specifics as to why he resigned. He said he is facing “some very difficult personal challenges. As such, I have come to the decision that the best action I can take at this time is to immediately relinquish my seat as a Windham Town Councilor.”

The problems on the council stem from the council’s decision to merge Windham fire and police dispatch with the Cumberland County-based operation. Because of his favoring of the consolidation plan and his employment with a local bank that does business with the county, Tracy’s professional background was investigated by former Windham police Det. Michael Denbow, who felt Tracy had a conflict of interest. As a result of the investigation, Denbow was terminated in June. Denbow is currently appealing the firing.

Tracy has maintained that he had no such conflict and that he had nothing to gain from the merger.

Proponents of Denbow, including Chapman and Waig, contend that Denbow was acting within his rights and have accused Tracy of abusing his power as chairman to effect the firing of Denbow.

Tracy has offered little in the way of public comment on the divisive matter and continues with that tack in his resignation letter, letting the town manager and police chief head up the town’s response.

“There has been a lot said over the past two weeks in regards to allegations of bullying and intimidation,” Tracy wrote in his resignation letter. “Much of the discussion has originated from incidents regarding actions taken by Michael Denbow who inappropriately investigated my background, recorded at least one discussion without the knowledge of parties present, and the related actions of two former Town Councilors. It is, and always has been under the Town’s Charter, the responsibility of the Town Manager and Police Chief to see the process through regarding Mr. Denbow’s actions. One can join the fray and make accusations based on generalizations or simply move on gracefully with the hope that the Town’s works continues with as little disruption as possible. I have chosen the latter path over the past few months and will continue to do so moving forward.”

In addition to the pressure Tracy has faced from two former councilors, Chapman and Waig, who both accuse Tracy of intimidation and harassment for swearing and intimidating statements he allegedly said behind closed doors in executive sessions, Tracy has also faced a backlash in recent weeks stemming from a Oct. 26 public hearing at which he didn’t let the public speak. Tracy came under intense scrutiny from attendees who wanted to comment on Chapman’s allegations of abuse. And to add to the heat, a citizen group led by Robert Wehmeyer has initiated a recall petition citing the inappropriate treatment of Waig and Chapman by Tracy.

Tracy closed the resignation letter saying, “The decision to step back has not come easily. While I regret not finishing out the term, it is more important to address my personal needs at this time. I am hopeful people will provide forgiveness and the space I need now to take care of myself and those around me.”

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