Shirley Selectman Andy Deveau was "blindsided."

Shirley Chief Administrative Officer David Berry said, "This is the first I heard about this."

Both were referring to the Jan. 7 call for Berry's resignation within five days, or he would be fired. A motion was made, seconded and passed by Selectmen David Swain and Kendra Dumont.

Swain and Dumont do express reasons for their opinions about Berry's job performance. They proposed using his salary for anticipated shortfalls in the town budget.

But publicly humiliating and blindsiding him are not the way to handle it.

Deveau, the third selectman, should not have been surprised. It smacked of behind-the-scenes discussions. If it was a spontaneous idea, it should have been placed on the agenda in a professional manner. The move was disrespectful to Deveau, catching him off-guard.

It would appear that the two selectmen know that Berry has a contract and that the contract has steps to be followed in such a situation. Should the selectmen want to execute the clause that allows firing for "just cause," a process is outlined. It provides for a hearing where not only the selectmen can speak but Berry can defend himself, held in open session or behind closed doors, at Berry's preference.

Whether Berry should be dismissed is a matter to be respectfully and legally deliberated.

Whether elected officials acting in such a manner should be fired for behavior unbecoming, needs little debate.


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