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Duxbury road foreman Steven Manosh resigned on Tuesday, July 10.
Manosh’s resignation came the morning after a town select board meeting-turned-shouting match, in which residents expressed anger and frustration over what they view as mismanagement of town employees and misallocation of taxpayer dollars with regard to road maintenance.
Townspeople’s distrust in Manosh, who those present said they believe is the root of the problems, has been building since earlier this summer, when Manosh improperly discarded diesel fuel in the town’s gravel pit, violating the site’s Act 250 permit and rendering the pit temporarily unusable.
After the incident, the select board met and agreed that Manosh would be held personally responsible for the $1,500 an environmental consultant charged to remediate the spill, although they did allow the use of town equipment in the cleanup.
“I don’t know how to put it nicely,” a resident said at the Monday night meeting, explaining that over the past few years the town appears to have approved many costs that are “really not necessary.” After learning about the most recent rise in taxes, the resident started going down to the town clerk’s office to see exactly how the select board is spending taxpayers’ money.
What the resident found, she explained, were unorganized records of money spent on new road equipment that perhaps could have lasted longer if it were taken better care of, as well as large sums devoted to paying road workers for vacation and overtime.
With all the money the town has put towards equipment and workers, many residents at the meeting expressed that they have seen very little actual improvement to roads. “I think we should be getting more for our money,” one townsperson said.
“Camel’s Hump Road has been neglected for so long it’s falling apart,” another resident added.
Select board chair Dick Charland heard these concerns but refused to accept that any of the townpeople’s suspicions were valid. “Our roads are fine,” he said, crossing his arms.
“We are the laughingstock of Washington County,” a resident replied.
And then the shouting started. “It seems like you are taking a very aggressive attitude and no one can get any answers,” one resident told Charland.
When the residents suggested that Manosh was not well-suited for his job, as “he’s in a position over his head,” one said, Charland responded in a way some found dismissive, stating that the board would take the issue to the road committee.
“Why does it always have to go to the road committee?” one resident asked, and another came forward stating that the select board has the power to dismiss a town employee under circumstances similar to these, which Charland denied.
Manosh was not present at the meeting because he was away on vacation. Although the select board did not approve this vacation on the grounds that Manosh did not follow the town personnel policy in having it approved, he appears to have received an unofficial okay to take time off. Out of the two weeks he took, Manosh was paid only for the 16 2/3 hours of vacation time he had left for this year.
Manosh, purportedly having heard the arguments made against him, came into work the morning after the meeting and resigned.