EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 10, 2013

McDougall resigns from two Salem boards

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM — Patrick McDougall has formally resigned from the Budget Committee and Zoning Board of Adjustment, saying he no longer wants his personal problems to be a distraction.

A judge found McDougall guilty of obstructing government administration last month after he argued with paramedics responding to his wife’s 911 call in June. McDougall refused to let them transport her to the hospital for treatment of a severe headache, saying he would drive her himself.

The outspoken former board member could face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine when he is sentenced Tuesday in 10th Circuit Court in Salem. He also faces two felony witness tampering charges, a criminal threatening charge and a disorderly conduct charge in a related case to be heard in Rockingham Superior Court.

McDougall, 38, sent his resignation to Town Manager Keith Hickey, former chief building official Samuel Zannini and the chairman of both boards two weeks ago.

McDougall said in the letters he was resigning with “regret and sadness” to deal with his family issues and thanked board members, saying it was an honor to serve Salem residents. Shortly after his conviction in mid-December, McDougall said he planned to resign, but didn’t say when.

When reached yesterday, all McDougall would say is, “I thought it was the right thing to do.”

He declined to comment further and referred questions about his court cases to his attorney, Neil Reardon.

ZBA Chairman Gary Azarian and Budget Committee member Russell Frydryck said both boards voted to accept McDougall’s resignation last week.

No one will be appointed to serve the remainder of McDougall’s three-year term on the zoning board, which expires in March, Azarian said. There are several alternates who can fill in as needed until a new member is elected, he said.

A one-year replacement will be elected in March to finish McDougall’s term on the Budget Committee, Frydryck said. The three-year position will be up for grabs again in the 2014 election.

Both chairmen said McDougall finally did what was best for himself and the two boards. Azarian asked McDougall to resign several months ago, but he refused.

“When he was found guilty, he stepped down like we asked him to do,” Azarian said. “The board can now move forward.”

Frydryck praised McDougall for his dedication serving Salem’s residents. McDougall was often criticized for his proposals to cut town spending.

“I appreciated Pat’s candor and that he put the taxpayers ahead of everyone else,” Frydryck said. “I think he did the right thing.”