CLINTON — A group of residents packed the Clinton Town Office on Tuesday evening to voice their objection to a newly adopted policy regarding the signing of petitions on town properties.

During the citizen input portion of Tuesday evening’s meeting, Mike Hachey, the former director of the solid waste and transfer station, and his wife took the time to ask Town Manager Earla Haggerty about why they were not allowed to collect signatures for a petition at the transfer station this past weekend.

Clinton Town Manager Earla Haggerty, listens and takes notes during a selectmen’s meeting Monday in the Selectmen’s Room at the Clinton Town Hall. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“When Mike and I went up there we were told we had to leave and that we couldn’t collect signatures at the dump,” Mrs. Hachey said.

The petition in question is to have Hachey reinstated into his position as the transfer station’s director after he was terminated in July.

According to Randy Clark, a former selectman of 15 years, the petition has more than 250 signatures.

In response to the complaint, Haggerty explained that citizens were no longer allowed to collect signatures for any petition or conduct any business besides dumping trash at the transfer station due the safety risk it poses.

“I’m a risk manager for this town. I work with Maine Municipal Association (and) they from time to time put inspectors on this property. I consult with them, I take their advice, I’m supposed to help the town avoid risk,” Haggerty said. “And when you mix pedestrians with the kind of traffic we have up there, that’s a risk. The board appointed me as director and my policy is going to be no loitering, no soliciting. I don’t care if it’s signatures for anything or if you want to sell Tupperware up there, all of that presents risk to the town. I’m not going to allow it as long as the board says I’m the director. Get them (signatures) anywhere you want but not on town property when it presents a risk.”

According to Mark Hachey, Mike Hachey’s brother, at the last selectmen’s meeting on July 23, the board and Haggerty decided to table the discussion on the new policy in order to discuss it at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

“She (Haggerty) brought it up to the rest of the board at the last meeting and they said they didn’t want to make the decision at that time,” Mark Hachey said. “So they said they’d discuss it tonight and now all of a sudden they’re talking about it like the decision has been made when they said they were going to put it off and talk about it tonight.”

As attendees continued to air their grievances toward Haggerty,  Judy Irving, whose husband Ronnie Irving is a selectman currently facing his own petition for removal by Clinton residents, voiced her opinion.

“You guys have crabbed about town managers being in this position and not taking care of things and now we have someone that is doing things and you’re still going to (expletive),” Irving said. “You can’t please stupid.”

The crowd continued to debate until the board went into executive session to handle an unrelated personnel matter.

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