CROYDON — The town’s newest member of the board of selectmen, Ian Underwood, said Thursday he was not at the emergency meeting held Wednesday to appoint him to the board.
“After Gary Quimby resigned, they called me (from the meeting) and asked if I would accept,” Underwood said.
Quimby and Selectman Reagan Clarke both left the board Wednesday after weeks of controversy over an attempt to get rid of the town’s police department. That would have left Joe Marko as the only member of the board.
Underwood said Marko had approached him in the days prior to the appointment, to see if he would be interested in serving in case a seat became vacant. Underwood is not sure how far back he was contacted by Marko about the potential opening.
Neither Marko, nor Clarke, nor Quimby have responded to requests for comment. Underwood said the meeting held Wednesday was legal, despite it not being posted in advance as required by law.
Underwood said the town was facing a potential emergency if it went down to one selectman and the unposted meeting was legally justified. Underwood said the potential emergency is that the state might have taken over the town temporarily in order to make sure payroll was processed for town employees.
Underwood is a member of the Free State libertarian movement. He previously served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Problems started for this town of 760 people when a surprise motion at the annual March Town Meeting to eliminate the police department, staffed only by Chief Richard Lee, was narrowly approved. More than 100 residents subsequently signed a petition demanding a special town meeting to reverse that vote. The petition ended up having 75 registered voters, more than enough to surpass the 50 registered voter minimum under state law.
Last week, Quimby tried to discipline a town employee, Brenda Williams, for reportedly collecting petition signatures on the job. She works part-time at the town dump. He backed down when Williams challenged the board at the selectmen’s meeting, and it turned out there are no written rules for town employees.
The board has yet to set the date for the special town meeting, which it must do within 90 days.
The board also has yet to explain what it is doing about a financial audit that found concerns with town finances, including Town Treasurer James Britton’s reported practice of storing town money and blank checks in his home.
On Tuesday night, Cathy Peschke, the board’s secretary, resigned her post citing the stress from the current controversies.