MacGuire backs Peterman for selectman
Thursday, February 28, 2013
AMHERST – Saying the public has lost confidence in town leadership, former Amherst police chief and town administrator Gary MacGuire is endorsing Marilyn Peterman for selectman in the upcoming election.
Peterman previously served on the board for 18 years and was on the board when MacGuire was town administrator.
In a Cabinet letter to the editor MacGuire praised Peterman and expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of town government.
“It blows me away to see those types of allegations,” and questions from Amherst citizens not being answered, he said in a phone interview decrying the “lack of free-flowing information” from the town. He said public confidence in government is low and the situation is especially troubling considering the circumstances of his retirement.
MacGuire retired as town administrator in August of 2011. He announced in May of that year he was stepping down and offered to remain on a part-time basis until a replacement was hired, but selectmen declined. Three months later selectmen named Jim O’Mara, then-board chairman, to the post.
“The public perception is that I was pushed out the door,” MacGuire said, “but I had announced I was leaving.”
O’Mara was placed on a paid administrative leave last December, and people are still asking questions about the dump truck lease that selectmen said led to a private investigation.
O’Mara was reinstated five weeks later, after selectmen announced that the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing, but they also said they would not release details of the report.
MacGuire says he is offended by comments that imply that this type of disregard for proper procedures has been going on for years.
“This didn’t go on under me,” he said.
MacGuire said he is not trying to accuse any individuals of wrongdoing.
MacGuire also spoke of the lengthy letter the Amherst Citizens Association submitted to selectmen in January demanding answers on the dump truck issue, O’Mara’s leave and various other issues concerning purchasing procedures and town finances, questions that remain unanswered. He recalled a time the organization posed questions to the board during his tenure.
“I made it my mission to make sure I had answers,” he said. “When there is a group like that that poses questions, that’s stuff you have to answer. It’s what we do – serve the public.”
“Marilyn seems like somebody who could bring things back, serve the public more openly,” he said. “I felt it might be important for people to hear the perspective from someone who has worked a lot of years. Going backwards might be a good thing.”