SHIRLEY -- Selectmen, War Memorial Building Trustees and American Legion Post 183, the building's only tenant, have been trying for some time to iron out wrinkles in a lease agreement.

Selectmen and Legion Executive Board members signed one Monday night.

The WMB Trustees in a letter to selectmen requested to be removed from the lease.

Later in the meeting, Selectman Kendra Dumont said she spoke with one of the trustees and expected more conversations to follow.

Although the rental amount -- to cover utility costs -- was one of the issues the Legion and selectmen wrangled over, a key bone of contention was whether the town, as owner of the building, or trustees, as its elected overseers, should be in charge.

Previously, the agreement was between trustees and the Legion, with selectmen as signatories on behalf of the town.

Now, it seems that for practical purposes, the board must act as landlord.

It was not clear from the recent discussion what the trustee's responsibilities would be.

But when Chairman Theresa Richards, accompanied by fellow WMB Trustee Norman Albert, discussed the matter with selectmen at a previous meeting, Richards said trustees were leery of new lease language town counsel inserted, which in their view ceded control of the building to selectmen and canceled out their authority.

Selectman David Swain said at the time that the board had no such intent and would not interfere with building operations that were the trustees' purview.


But as a town-owned building, it is the selectmen's official business and under their oversight, Swain said.


At the recent meeting, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin told selectmen she and Energy Committee Chairman Bryan Dumont met with the Legion to work out lease details, using projected utility costs to be covered by the tenant to set the amount of $632.

"They expressed some concern" about the amount, Garvin said, so she proposed to extend the Legion's current lease for another 30 days at $425 until a monthly payment plan can be worked out to cover the new deal.

With two of three members present, selectmen unanimously voted to approve the lease.