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Northfield Selectboard member asked to resign

Recall measure may see use

NORTHFIELD — A local restaurateur and an employee have asked one of the town’s Selectboard members to step down from all his elected offices.

Justin Masse, owner of Rooster’s Tavern, and former owner Corinne Burnham, called Selectboard and Board of Health member Dan Gray on the carpet at Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting, and asked him to step down from all town offices he holds.

“Every position Dan holds, he should resign from,” said Burnham. “He’s a bully and an asshole, and a disgrace to the town.”

Their request stems from an Oct. 10 run-in with Gray on Board of Health business.

Gray came to Rooster’s Tavern that day, with a padlock in hand, and told Burnham that he would lock the restaurant down if two missing permits were not paid for immediately,” said Burnham.

She said she paid for them with two personal checks for $75, even though she sold the business to Masse in September, and as an employee, permits are no longer her responsibility.

“Dan decided that the best course of action was not to call me, or try to get ahold of me through one of my employees,” said Masse. “Instead, he marched across the street and verbally abused one of my employees in the parking lot, padlock in hand.”

“It was borderline assault,” he continued.

Burnham said every other Board of Health member has personally apologized to her since the incident.

Gray did not resign either of his elected positions after Tuesday’s confrontation.

Burnham said she intends to make Dan Gray the subject of Northfield’s first recall vote.

A bylaw approved by town meeting, and approved by the governor last year, states that an official may be recalled from an elected position by petition. If the petition garners 100 verified signatures, the subject may step down, or challenge the recall. If the recall is challenged, any eligible resident may run against the recalled official in a recall election, the position going to the winner.

After his business was threatened, said Masse, he checked to see if Gray had all the necessary permits in order for several businesses the Selectboard member owns.

Gray runs an alpaca farm, A1 Enterprises, a food truck and the Northfield Country Corner farm stand.

“He doesn’t have permits for any of his businesses,” said Masse.

Town Clerk Gail Zukowski said Tuesday that she could not find record of any permits issued to Gray in her office.

Gray acted surprised when it was alleged that he ran those businesses without permits. He did not, however, protest the accusation.

Asked for comment after the Selectboard meeting, Gray said he would hold off until the Board of Health meets Thursday.

Whatever Gray’s explanation, Masse and Burnham made it clear that he is not welcome at Rooster’s Tavern anymore.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

Editor’s note: The name of one of Dan Gray’s businesses was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

I'm glad that someone would finally stand up against that kind of intimidation from a public official.

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