NORRIDGEWOCK — Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Ron Frederic asked sewer commissioners Wednesday night not to discuss personnel issues and to revise their meeting minutes to reflect no personnel issues.

The request followed allegations by the town manager and the chairwoman of the sewer commissioners that commission members had tried to hold an illegal executive session during a recent meeting to discuss the town manager’s performance. When the motion did not pass, the commissioners allegedly discussed Town Manager Michelle Flewelling’s work anyway.

Sewer commissioners were invited to the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday night to discuss the future of the Norridgewock Sewer Treatment Plant and a letter that the board had sent to the commissioners asking them to discuss a long-term plan for the facility.

Before the discussion on the sewer plant, however, the board held an executive session lasting about 45 minutes.

“No personnel matters can be discussed at your meetings whatsoever,” Frederic said to the commissioners after the executive session. “Any town personnel matters need to come before this board. You may or may not know what kind of situation you’re putting the town in by doing that, but it’s not good.”

He also asked the commissioners to amend their meeting minutes and take out any references to town employees. Minutes from the most recent sewer commissioners meeting were unavailable Tuesday at the Town Office. Flewelling said she had recorded the meeting on a personal recorder but didn’t want to release it to the Morning Sentinel until Thursday after she had discussed it with the Board of Selectmen. She said the recording contained information related to a personnel issue and had possible legal implications.

Every member of the sewer commission, which includes Chairwoman Kristina Gossman, Bruce Obert, Charlotte Curtis and Ron Currier, was present Wednesday night. A fifth member, Josh Chartrand, was appointed Wednesday night, filling a vacant seat.

“I don’t want to lecture you,” Frederic said. “I don’t even feel comfortable doing this. You guys are an elected board, but I have to protect the town, and you guys are putting the town in a very, very bad position.”

Earlier this month the Board of Selectmen sent a letter to the commissioners, asking them to “address the deficiencies” at the plant, which owes the town about $60,000 and needs maintenance and repairs.

Kristina Gossman said Wednesday that the commissioners had discussed the letter at length and decided that the town manager and supervisor of the wastewater facility, Heinz Gossman, should be responsible for a long-term plan for the plant.

“Our job as sewer commissioners is to approve or disapprove budgets,” Obert said. “We’re not hired to do maintenance plans, mow the lawn or make sure the truck’s oil gets changed. That’s up to the superintendent or the town manager. It’s up to us to approve or disapprove it.”

Currier also placed blame on the Board of Selectmen for the lack of maintenance at the sewer facility, saying the commissioners were operating at only 80 percent capacity since the fifth seat on the board became vacant in April, when former commissioner Dick Holt passed away.

Gossman said she has contacted private firms about having a review of the sewer plant done and there was consensus between the commissioners and the board that an outside person would be needed to put together a plan for the facility.

“I don’t want to undermine what (the town manager) does or the staff do, but I do feel like it needs to be an outside source,” Selectman Matt Everett said. “I don’t know that we have the knowledge in house, and I don’t think we should expect them to.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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