Lyman selectmen have finally ended a year-long legal action to determine if Selectman Steve Marble, who is also a town employee, should be on the board.

Last summer, Selectman Leo Ruel and then-Selectman Norman Hutchins voted to pursue a lawsuit against Marble, who is the town’s transfer station operator, for what they said was a conflict of interest. At the time, both men said Marble’s membership on the three-person board set them up for becoming deadlocked if Marble had to recuse himself for transfer station-related items and budget issues.

Part of that issue was already resolved when the board expanded to five members earlier this month. As for the conflict of interest issue, a town charter is set to be presented to voters in the fall and should address the issue of town employees serving on the board of selectmen.

The vote came about after residents at Town Meeting last week voted to suspend legal funds for the lawsuit against Marble. Voters amended Article 17, which appropriated $20,000 for legal fees, to exclude any further expenditures for the lawsuit. The motion was made by resident Roland Nadeau, who was also behind the successful recall effort to get Hutchins off the board back in November, largely due to Hutchins’ support of the lawsuit.

Although the legality of the Town Meeting vote is questionable, we’re pleased to see selectmen listening to their constituents and dropping the suit.

The best way to ensure that an employee is not elected to the board again would be to make that part of the town’s charter, which is in the works. And if residents don’t think there is a problem with employees serving on the board, they will let their elected officials know at the ballot box.

The Marble suit kicked off a string of questionable actions by the board, and we’re pleased to see that things are turning around. Dropping the suit is a good-faith effort to show the voters the board is listening, and that members intend to focus on the more important business of the town and leave the conflict of interest issue to be fixed through charter changes.

As the proposed charter changes move forward, residents need to remain involved and make their voices heard so that Lyman officials get the final proposal right before it goes to voters in the fall.


Today’s editorial was written by City Editor Robyn Burnham representing the majority opinion of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, Ext. 322, or via email at [email protected].