CLINTON — A group of residents packed the Clinton Town Office on Tuesday evening to voice their objection to a newly adopted policy regarding the signing of petitions on town properties.

During the citizen input portion of Tuesday evening’s meeting, Mike Hachey, the former director of the Clinton-Benton solid waste and transfer station, and his wife took the opportunity to ask Town Manager Earla Haggerty why they were not allowed to collect signatures for a petition at the transfer station this past weekend.

“When Mike and I went up there, we were told we had to leave and that we couldn’t collect signatures at the dump,” Mrs. Hachey said.

The petition in question calls for Hachey to be reinstated in his position as the transfer station’s director after he was terminated in June for a series of alleged personal and professional missteps.

Michael Hachey, right center, listens during the July 1 selectmen’s meeting at Clinton Town Hall. Hachey was recently let go from his position as director of the Clinton-Benton Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Station. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

According to Randy Clark, a former selectman of 15 years, the petition has more than 250 signatures.

In response to the complaint, Haggerty explained that citizens were no longer allowed to collect signatures for any petition or conduct any business besides dumping trash at the transfer station due to the safety risk it poses.

“I’m a risk manager for this town. I work with Maine Municipal Association (and) they from time to time put inspectors on this property. I consult with them, I take their advice, I’m supposed to help the town avoid risk,” Haggerty said. “And when you mix pedestrians with the kind of traffic we have up there, that’s a risk. The board appointed me as director and my policy is going to be no loitering, no soliciting. I don’t care if it’s signatures for anything or if you want to sell Tupperware up there, all of that presents risk to the town. I’m not going to allow it as long as the board says I’m the director. Get them (signatures) anywhere you want, but not on town property when it presents a risk.”

According to Mark Hachey, Mike Hachey’s brother, at the last selectmen’s meeting on July 23, the board and Haggerty decided to postpone the discussion on the new policy in order to discuss it at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

“She (Haggerty) brought it up to the rest of the board at the last meeting, and they said they didn’t want to make the decision at that time,” Mark Hachey said. “So they said they’d discuss it tonight, and now all of a sudden they’re talking about it like the decision has been made when they said they were going to put it off and talk about it tonight.”

As attendees continued to air their grievances toward Haggerty, Judy Irving, whose husband, Ronnie Irving, is a selectman currently facing his own petition for removal by Clinton residents, voiced her opinion.

“You guys have crabbed about town managers being in this position and not taking care of things and now we have someone that is doing things and you’re still going to (expletive),” Irving said. “You can’t please stupid.”

Clark announced on Aug. 9 that he and four other Clinton residents formed a committee to oust Ronnie Irving from the selectmen’s board due to what they believed has been his repeated violation of Section 2.05 (b)  and Section 2.07 (b) of the town’s charter.

Clark was unable to give an update to the number of signatures for the petition against Irving.

The crowd continued to debate until the board went into executive session to handle an unrelated personnel matter.

The same crowd of around 20 residents have been vocal at selectmen’s meetings since Hachey’s termination in late June.

According to Hachey, he was fired because of his confusion over Benton’s delayed renewal contract with the transfer station.

“I had a Benton resident come into my site and ask me for a permit, and I told them I had to wait because I didn’t want to issue permits if Benton didn’t have a contract,” Hachey said. “So, they went back to the town office, they didn’t know what was going on, they call Haggerty up and next thing I know I have a screaming phone call from her. She basically threw me under the bus to the town of Benton.”

After Haggerty’s alleged phone call to Hachey, he claims she personally delivered a letter of termination to the dump on June 29 which stated Hachey had the opportunity to meet with Haggerty on July 1 to present his response to his termination.

However, the day of the planned meeting Hachey received another letter stating that the meeting was canceled and that his termination was final.

“In absence of any response from you to change or offset the concerns and positions I expressed in the letter, I am issuing a final Notice of Decision ending your relationship with the Town of Clinton by not presenting your name of re-appointment as the Director of the Clinton Solid Waste Transfer & Recycling Center,” Haggerty wrote.

Hachey’s last day of paid employment was on July 6 and he has since been consulting with attorneys regarding his termination.

 

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.