EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 22, 2014

Pelham selectmen meet; no new details on administrator

By John Toole

---- — PELHAM — Selectmen convened last night for the first time since they put Town Administrator Tom Gaydos on administrative leave Jan. 9, but offered no new information about why.

Police Chief Joseph Roark, who selectmen named interim town administrator, joined selectmen around their table in Sherburne Hall, in a chair usually occupied by Gaydos.

Roark did not wear his chief’s uniform, as he usually does for meetings with the board.

“The town administrator is on administrative leave,” selectmen’s chairman Ed Gleason said.

“That’s all we’re going to say about that,” Gleason said. “It’s a personnel issue.”

When there’s a resolution to the situation, selectmen will notify everyone, Gleason said.

“As soon as we are able to say anything, we will,” Gleason said.

The board gave no timetable.

Selectmen, in confirming Gaydos’s leave last week, have said there are no criminal allegations against the town administrator.

Prior to last night’s meeting, Gleason said he would not disclose whether Gaydos is still being paid by the town.

If citizens are concerned by Gaydos’s absence from the town offices, or the lack of information forthcoming from selectmen, they haven’t shown it.

No one attended last night’s meeting or spoke during the public comment period.

There has been almost no comment about the situation on the town’s electronic message board.

Gaydos, 56, has served as town administrator since 2002.

Aside from the brief opening remarks about Gaydos, it was business as usual for town government.

The board announced times for the town deliberative session, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, and the school deliberative session, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. Both sessions will be in Sherburne Hall.

Gleason said the candidate filing period opens today and will conclude Jan. 31.

Selectmen said they would be opposing two citizen petition articles coming before voters during the March 11 balloting at Town Meeting.

One calls for spending more than $600,000 for a fire truck; another calls for a 5 percent cut in the town budget.

Selectman Douglas Viger said the Budget Committee also is opposed to the proposed spending cut.

While each selectman expressed his strong opposition to the reduction, Selectman Robert Haverty invited citizens to vote him out of office if they disagreed.

“It would be irresponsible for us to consider this,” Haverty said.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Johnson briefed selectmen on a proposed $40,000 playground project, planned this year, for Veterans Memorial Park.

Johnson said it would be funded from a combination of a grant and revenue from charity gaming money.

“I think that’s important,” Selectman William McDevitt said, stressing none of the money was from property tax dollars.

Planning Director Jeff Gowan met with selectmen, telling them town officials will be reporting to them in the spring about possible address and road name changes intended to remove confusion for emergency 911 responders.

Gowan indicated there would be an opportunity for public input.