Mr. Russell's 'concerns' over moderator, COVID-19 should raise eyebrows

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To the editor:

As a Selectboard member in Lebanon, Maine, I would like to express my opinion on a couple of very important issues that could not wait until Thursday's Board of Selectman's.

In our September 10th Selectmen's meeting (see video below, starting briefly at 1:17 and brought up again at 1:52) the choice of a moderator was discussed. It was decided that Selectman Jeff Adams could look for a moderator that was acceptable to him, this after his very passionate speech in defense of Chairman Charles Russell, Jr., regarding his special recall election.

Mr. Adams stated it had bothered him that Karen Gerrish, who had initiated the recall petition, had contacted Richard Nass earlier in the day, which was reported to us by Mr. Russell, because he also talked to him that day.

Selectman Adams is clearly bias as is James DuPrie (the questioning resident). Richard Nass has been a moderator for the Town of Lebanon for many, many years and has always been fair and unbiased. Even Mr. Adams himself even said what a standup guy Mr. Nass is.

Then why would we not trust him to moderate for us at this special recall election? Why take a chance on an unknown person that may lack the qualifications that Richard Nass has? Why should we question Richard Nass's integrity?

A longtime State Senator representing Lebanon, he has proved himself in many contention meetings in Lebanon over the last several years.

The second issue was a television interview that the Chairman of the Board of Selectman, Charles Russell, Jr. initiated last Thursday.

It stated that he contacted the Governor's Office to try to shut down a Birthday Bash, with less than a hundred people expected citing COVID-19 concerns. However, we never heard anything from him when an event across town was held the previous weekend with an estimated attendance of over 1,500 people!

And the fact that he didn't even mention this interview or the call to the Governor's Office beforehand or at our weekly Selectmen's meeting was appalling.

If he was really concerned about COVID-19 issues he would be wearing a mask at our Selectmen meetings as he sits across from a fellow Selectman with underlying health issues. And interestingly enough, the person he was trying to shut down was one of the circulators of his recall petition. Misuse of his position in this case is pretty clear.

- Corinna Cole,

Selectwoman, Lebanon, Maine

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