To the Editor:
I spoke to Oak Bluffs selectman Duncan Ross (and several of the other selectmen) about the lawsuit initiated by Peter Martell against the fire chief and the town of Oak Bluffs, which was recently decided in Mr. Martell’s favor. I told him that I feel strongly that the selectmen should have quashed the lawsuit before it spiraled into a $50,000 verdict (for costs) against the town. The fire chief was wrong at the initial internal hearing, and the judge came to the same conclusion, which was obvious to all those in attendance at the hearing.
Mr. Ross cited the strong chief law, but as I read it, it clearly gives the selectmen the authority to have stopped this travesty in its tracks.
The Massachusetts General Law Chapter 48, Section 42-44. states that a “strong chief” cannot be removed except by the selectmen, and only after a hearing has been conducted.
The selectmen clearly did not step up to their responsibilities, and now the taxpayers have to pay for it. At the last election, the voters turned down several programs that could have benefited from that $50,000.
Robert A. IadiciccoOak Bluffs