CHESTERVILLE — Selectman Edward Hastings IV chastised highway foreman Mike Cote at Thursday night’s board meeting for uninspected town equipment and a wrong registration plate on a trailer.

“Your position as highway foreman likely may be in question,” Hastings read from a letter he gave Cote before the meeting and which was read during an executive session held in public at Cote’s request.

The letter informed Cote that Hastings planned to discuss his performance in executive session.

Before the session, selectmen adjourned the meeting and went to the town garage to check equipment. They found a trailer, which hauls the excavator, lacked a municipal registration plate, and a loader and one truck with expired inspection stickers.

They returned to the Town Office where Hastings asked for the executive session. His motion passed 3-2, with Hastings, Ross Clair and Tyler Jenness in favor and Tiffany Estabrook and Matt Welch against.

However, Cote asked that it be public and it was granted because he had a legal right to do so.

Cote said he hasn’t had time to go to the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles in Augusta to get the municipal plate.

“We’ve been doing other things and getting ready for storms,” he said.

“I feel there’s total disregard for the general motor vehicle laws,” Hastings said.

Selectmen also found the town loader lacks a current inspection sticker.

Cote said three garages wouldn’t inspect it because there are no criteria.

He said the 2004 plow truck failed inspection because of a worn kingpin, a device that’s attached to an axle.

Cote said he discovered a broken rim on another plow truck at the garage when he jacked it up.

Parts for both trucks had to be ordered from out of state, Cote said.

“How long is this going to go on?” Hastings asked. “Is it ever going to stop snowing long enough to get them inspected?”

Welch said the inspections come during plowing season, which is not convenient.

Cote said he planned to have three trucks inspected in the spring or summer before plowing season.

Estabrook and Welch defended Cote.

“You demand at times, continue to badger and harass this man in a public meeting,” Estabrook told Hastings.

“This isn’t the first time trucks in this town haven’t been inspected,” Welch said. “We should be helping him, not setting him up to fail. At your first meeting you told him it’s his department to run as he sees fit.”

“You’re leaving me no option,” Hastings said. “It’s within my right to make a motion to eliminate him.”

“That’s harassment. Don’t threaten his job,” Welch said.

“That’s not your decision,” Estabrook said.

“I don’t support running illegal equipment,” Hastings said. “You’re exposing the town to violating the law by running illegal or uninspected vehicles on the road.”

Estabrook offered to go to Augusta to get the trailer properly registered.

Jenness, who works for the state highway department, said he would check on inspecting the loader.

Clair said all highway foremen do things differently.

“Stagger truck inspections so they’re not all in the same month,” Clair said. “Open up the lines of communication. Say we all make mistakes and move on.”

The board took no action following the session.

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