Conway Selectman says he wasn’t aware of town aide’s layoff
Tom Spiro, Administrator Aide for the Town of Conway, requested a raise this year, but during the annual town meeting, residents rejected his request.
Photo by Kathleen McKiernan
Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke
CONWAY — A Conway selectman questioned why he wasn’t informed of the recent lay-off of Tom Spiro, the town’s administrative aide.
At Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Jim Moore said he found out through a recent Recorder article that last Monday was Spiro’s last day.
“I was on vacation for two weeks before. I come to the meeting Monday. It was a 29 minute meeting, the shortest I can remember. We left and I get the paper the next morning and find out Tom was laid off. Somebody could have at least told me,” Moore said.
Before Moore could continue, Selectman Rick Bean interrupted, stating “I don’t feel this is appropriate at this meeting. This isn’t the place to talk about it.”
Bean suggested the two discuss the issue after the meeting at the Conway Inn across the street from the Town Office, which would be a violation of the state open meeting law. However, Moore said he would not.
At about 8 p.m., Bean and Board Chairman John O’Rourke were seen at the Conway Inn. Moore was not present.
According to the state open meeting law, all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public unless an executive session is called. Two selectmen together gives an appearance that a quorum of a public body was held. However, the law states that as long as local officials did not deliberate, a meeting between the two in a private or social gathering is allowed.
When asked why he went to the local bar afterward, Bean said he and O’Rourke went to have a drink.
“We just had a drink. We went there after the meeting and didn’t discuss anything,” Bean said.
Bean said he is aware of the open meeting law.
“The open meeting law has to do with a quorum of two of three people going to a place and talking about things, deliberating and making a decision. We didn’t discuss anything or deliberate,” Bean said.
The town’s new town administrator, Edward MacDonald, laid off Spiro last week.
In a recent interview, Spiro said MacDonald informed him of his termination after a board meeting, citing an overlap of their job duties.
The town recently hired MacDonald to become Conway’s first full-time administrator after residents authorized the board to create the position at town meeting. MacDonald began his new job Monday.
Spiro’s position has been eliminated. Spiro, who worked for the town for 71∕2 years, was a 30-hour-per-week employee. He was paid a $27,982 salary. MacDonald makes $52,000. When town meeting created his job it did not specifically eliminate the older, less authoritative administrative aide job.