PLAISTOW — Selectman Steve Ranlett said the feeling was bittersweet when he resigned from the Plaistow Board of Selectmen during the Jan. 6 meeting of the Board.
“After over 30 years of public service to the town of Plaistow — as a police officer, Planning Board member and Selectman — I tender my resignation as I will be moving to Haverhill as I begin an exciting new chapter in my life,” Ranlett wrote in his letter of resignation which he read during the Jan. 6 meeting.
According to Ranlett, he made the decision to resign relatively recently, after purchasing a house in Haverhill. Personal matters were the reason behind his sudden move, he said.
However, even before Ranlett knew that he would be leaving Plaistow, he was aware that he would not be seeking reelection to the Board of Selectmen in 2020.
“I wasn't happy,” he said. “I promised myself that when I was no longer enjoying public politics I would leave, and I wasn't enjoying it anymore.”
In recent months, Ranlett was at the center of a heated controversy related to the existence of a secret letter, written by Town Manager Mark Pearson to Selectman Francine Hart in 2018.
According to Peter Bracci, the former selectman who divulged the existence of the letter during the public comment portion of a board meeting earlier this year, the letter contains accusations against Ranlett that ultimately led to his dismissal as the board’s chairman in July of 2018.
The contents of the letter have not been shared with the public. The Eagle-Tribune filed a public records request to see the letter, but it was denied by Hart.
“That definitely helped me make that decision,” Ranlett said referring to the ordeal. “It made it easier.”
In his letter of resignation, Ranlett said that he was honored to have served the town for close to four decades and apologized for leaving at “a critical time.”
He said later, “Plaistow is a great community and New Hampshire is a great state. I hope qualified people will step up and continue the great legacy of this town.”
Selectman Greg Taillon said that while he was aware that Ranlett was looking to buy a new home, he was unaware of Ranlett's decision to resign before the Jan. 6 meeting. He said the board will continue to function as usual.
Selectman John Blinn Sr. said he also knew for about a month and a half that Ranlett was looking to purchase a house, and he was aware that Haverhill was one of multiple communities, many of which were located in New Hampshire, that Ranlett was looking in.
"He was a good selectman," Blinn said. "It is the town's loss."
Ranlett said that he will have officially moved out of Plaistow in mid-February when his term as the School District Moderator ends.
Calls to Pearson and Hart for comment were not returned by press time.