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Keenan ‘regrets’ Hawley selectman’s resignation

HAWLEY — Selectmen’s Chairman Philip Keenan says that, although he regrets Tedd White’s resignation from the Board of Selectmen, he hopes the board will “march through its stalled agenda,” and “restore the town through dignity and decorum, through positivity and forward-moving action.”

A day after news media received an emailed copy of White’s resignation letter, Keenan said, “the only thing that I can say is that I regret Mr. White’s resignation and I regret the personal attacks he made in doing it. I hope, through this action, he finds peace.”

“I’m firmly dedicated to the healing and the restoration of harmony, order and positive action that Hawley has always embodied,” Keenan said.

On Thursday afternoon, White sent The Recorder and other news media his resignation letter.

White said he was resigning immediately, and that town government “does not operate properly.”

After failing to get the board to remove Keenan as its chairman, White said, “I can no longer endure (Keenan’s) rudeness, disrespect, bias and disregard for procedure. I can see what is wrong with our town government will not be corrected anytime soon.”

As of Friday morning, the letter had not yet reached selectmen.

When reached at the Town Office, Keenan said he was told of White’s resignation by friends, who learned of it through news outlets.

He said the board’s agenda has been “stalled,” because White had said he would only conduct essential town business until a third selectmen was elected, to replace the late Richard Desmarais.

The recent resignations of Town Clerk Lisa Turner, who is White’s partner, as well as Moderator Cynthia Stetson and now White have come in too late for replacements to be elected during the annual town election on April 30.

A temporary town clerk, Pamela Shrimpton, was appointed by selectmen this week, however, to serve until either the next special election or until the annual election next year.

Keenan said the town has seen some positive things come out of town government this month.

“I’m very optimistic about the new town clerk we’ve just appointed,” he said, “and that over half the registered voters have gotten involved in town government. For the first time since I’ve been in town government, it’s not that hard to find people interested in serving on committees.”

Keenan said he’s also enthused about the recent election of John Sears to the Board of Selectmen, because Sears is a successful grant writer. With a population of about 300 people, said Keenan, “all our tax money goes to schools and roads.”

And, although the town learned some hard lessons from Tropical Storm Irene’s destruction, “We’re in a better position to create a methodology (for future boards) for the next time we have a natural catastrophe,” he said. “Now is the time to do that.”

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