We are witness to a great many public meetings. And while there is a significant amount of good that occurs within them, sometimes even the most veteran among us are left shaking our heads in disbelief.

Such occurred Tuesday night at the meeting of the Ayer Board of Selectmen. It seemed that at least 3 of the 5 selectmen had discussed actions by Chairman Pauline Conley outside of the meeting. There was some disagreement over things she had done and some of her fellow selectmen wanted her replaced as chairman.

It isn't clear whether Conley acted inappropriately. What is clear is that when Selectman Chris Hillman voted against replacing her, Selectman Jim Fay displayed, shall we say, conduct unbecoming ... anyone.

He became angry, verbally attacking Hillman because, he claimed, Hillman had led him to believe that he supported the move, and then didn't.

The motion to replace Conley with Selectman Gary Luca as chairman did pass with Luca, Fay and Selectman Jannice Livingston voting for it; Hillman and Conley voting against.

A quorum of the board certainly has the right to change its chairman. It does not have the right to discuss the matter outside of a legally held meeting.

Nor should anyone be subjected to the juvenile name-calling to which Mr. Hillman was subjected Tuesday night. The people of Ayer deserve far better.


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