GREENE, Maine — The town dump is now closed on Sundays and some local residents say they were not told that decision was coming.
The town website is a mess, if it's up and running at all.
Several locals report getting rude responses while trying to handle business at the town office.
One man even complains that Town Manager Darlene Beaulieu wouldn't provide a copy of the town charter without a written request and a long wait.
Put simply, there are bad feelings afloat in the town of Greene and the residents are getting feisty.
At a town meeting Monday night, roughly a dozen residents headed to the town hall to air their grievances. Many of their complaints center around Beaulieu herself, who came to work in Greene just a year ago after serving as administrative assistant in Whitefield.
Several people have also been airing their grievances on the Facebook page "Citizens of Greene," where Beaulieu is frequently described as 'stubborn' and 'rude.'
Jason Rowe, an administrator of the page, shared a story earlier this week after encountering Beaulieu personally.
"So, a while back my wife and I were at the town office," he wrote. "The lady helping us was super rude, she complained about us purchasing our car in New Hampshire and didn't want to do the registration — my app for insurance was a little slow and she complained and told me I needed to go back outside until I got it up. Went back a few days later for something else and she was rude again. Just now I found out it was the town manager, Darlene (Beaulieu)."
The response to the post was heavy, with nearly four dozen people weighing in with their own stories about their experiences with the town manager.
"Honestly," Rowe wrote. "Everyone else is super nice and helpful. The town manager is a huge issue."
The matter of the transfer station has also been the source of ire. It had traditionally been open on Sundays, but recently town selectmen voted to close it that day.
According to Robert Rowe, Jason's son, they did so without providing advance notice of the meeting to the residents, and without advising that the meeting could be attended electronically.
"They had basically a closed door meeting at that point, where they decided on their own that they were no longer going to allow the transfer station to be open on Sundays," Robert said.
Bealieu, in a response to questions from the Sun Journal, emphatically disputes this.
"All of the selectmen meetings are publicized on the library website and the local access television channel in town," she said. "The selectmen do not hold semi-private meetings under any circumstances. The only meetings held outside of the public domain are executive sessions during which only items listed in the agendas are discussed in accordance with state statutes."
Beaulieu also addressed the matter of the transfer station, saying efforts are underway to remedy the situation.
"We would like to have the transfer station reopened on Sundays," she said. "The matter at hand is the inability to find dependable, long-term people who are willing to give up a half day on Sundays to man the location. We are working on ideas to expand some of the hours during the week to hopefully make it a bit more convenient for those who rely on a Sunday opening to use the expanded weekday hours."
There were other complaints from the locals.
Katherine Libby showed up at the meeting Monday night to express her dissatisfaction with the town's decision to reject a proposed plan that would have helped to alleviate problems with the transfer station.
Libby had offered to provide a kind of "trash taxi," which she would use to pick up residential trash from local households and dispose of it. The idea had gained support from many in the town.
"I was also offering to have a one bin method for recycling materials so it motivated people to recycle," Libby said. "Because I know so many who don't want to separate their trash at home and at the transfer station. So it would be amazing for the environment too."
Libby said the idea was shot down, but only after she was required to attend four selectman meetings and one waste management meeting over the course of three months.
"I've gone to every meeting trying to ask for their exact concerns and how to possibly solve them," Libby said. "But then I never get a straight answer and no middle ground from them."
"They're giving her the run around because they can and they think they can get away with it," said Robert Rowe.
Town officials have told Libby that they are still mulling her idea, but there was uncertainty about the lines between commercial and residential businesses of that nature.
Yet, while there was no shortage of complaints about town management over the past year, a few people have suggested that tensions within the town might not be entirely with the town manager — too few Greene residents attend town meetings, according to some, and so decisions are made that people might not like.
When it was suggested at Monday night's meeting that Beaulieu should resign, Selectman Tony Reny, chair of the meeting, defended her by saying that Beaulieu has been basically doing the work of three people while also trying to get more familiar with the Greene community.
"We've been working very closely to help her adjust to this town," he said. "Not to make excuses, but there's a lot of stress thrust upon Darlene as the town manager and she has done a great job overcoming that. I would like to continue working, all of us collectively, with Darlene to help her get along in the town itself as the town manager."
Following the meeting, one Greene woman wrote, on the Citizens of Greene page, that she felt that Beaulieu should be given a second chance, given the stress of the previous year.
Jason Rowe, however, wasn't buying the argument.
"She had a lot of opportunity last night to say she has been stressed and apologize," he wrote. "She didn't. So I guess time will tell if she changes her attitude toward Greene residents."
Beaulieu, asked about the conflict later in the week, stressed that she and her staff have been putting in the effort to improve relations with citizens of the town.
"We work very hard to have a very good relationship with all the people in the town of Greene," she said. "There are times when things fall short, but we are working on that and sincerely ask the townspeople to help with that.
"The past several months have been hard on everyone," she said, "and it is my hope that we continuously improve the relationships within the town, and as a result, working together to make our town a pleasant place to live and do business."
Beaulieu, of Litchfield, was hired as town manager when Charles Noonan retired from the position after 15 years on the job.
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