SHIRLEY — Reaction was swift and fierce Tuesday in the wake of Town Administrator Kyle Keady’s arrest on charges of wiretapping Town Offices and putting a hidden camera in the ladies bathroom.
“I think it’s a darned disgrace to our town,” said Barbara Caron of Shirley.
Keady was charged with photographing an unsuspecting nude or partially nude person, wiretapping and possession of a device for wiretapping.
Marion Puckett, who works at M&M Convenience, said she was stunned by the allegations against Keady, who shops at the store.
Keady’s arrest was the talk of the town yesterday, she said.
“He wasn’t thinking straight,” Puckett said. “Look at what he’s losing.”
Ted Maroni, of Shirley, said he was not a supporter of Keady even before the arrest but was still surprised.
“I feel bad for his family but, as for him, I didn’t think he was an outstanding citizen,” Maroni said. “He was kind of arrogant.”
Keady should be fired, he said.
Caron said she is impressed by Selectman Kendra Dumont, who blew the whistle on Keady when she realized he allegedly secretly recorded a private conversation with her.
“It makes you proud to know there is somebody there to fix the problem,” Caron said.
Selectmen Chairman Armand “Andy” Deveau held a staff meeting for Town Offices employees Tuesday morning to announce the arrest.
Reactions were strong.
“Surprised … or shocked is more the word,” said Town Collector Holly Haase.
Planning Board Administrator Anna MacDonald said she is disturbed by the allegations.
“Like everybody else, my reaction is surprise and disgust,” she said.
Even though residents said he should be fired if the allegations are proved, it may not be necessary.
His contract with the town is scheduled to expire at the end of the month.
“His contract is up June 30, so my feeling is, we don’t have to do anything past that,” Dumont said.
Selectmen are scheduled to meet tomorrow night to discuss the allegations.
“Absolutely appalled,” Deveau said of his feelings. “I can’t fathom why someone would want to do this. I can’t comprehend it.”
Deveau said he is glad the arrest happened after Town Meeting because it would have disrupted deliberations.
Selectmen were scheduled to give Keady a job-performance evaluation Monday. The meeting was canceled while police searched the building from about 4:35 p.m. until 1:45 a.m.
“They were extremely thorough,” Deveau said. “Mr. Keady’s office looked like a bomb went off there when they got finished searching.”
Deveau said he planned to say Keady meets expectations for the job, but does not believe he will keep his job. Keady’s admissions of guilt and the evidence will work against him, Deveau said.
Keady, 46, has been town administrator for about seven years and was a selectman for about 15 years before that. The lifelong Shirley resident is divorced, with a 13-year-old son.
Keady comes from a family with deep roots in town. The street in front of Town Hall is named Keady Way.
Dumont said the raid on Town Offices saved her from a potentially uncomfortable situation.
She did not plan to give an evaluation because she blew the whistle on Keady, which started the police investigation, but did not know how to explain her silence to the board, Dumont said.
Selectman David Swain said Keady’s behavior appears to have been irrational and he may have mental-health issues with which to cope.
“I feel betrayed. … We were prepared Monday night to offer him a contract and the three of us sat outside while the state police were going through his offices upstairs and are just taken back as to how foolish this is, or stupid,” Swain said.
In April, Keady applied for the town administrator’s position in Ayer after former Ayer Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski left to take a similar job in Sturbridge. He was not among the finalists announced by Ayer selectmen last night.
Keady was named to replace Bob Hanson as Pepperell town administrator last August, but reached an impasse during contract negotiations in September and did not take the job.
Former Selectman Enrico “Rico” Cappucci said he wanted to terminate Keady two years ago by eliminating funding for his job in a proposed annual budget, but was overruled.
“I zeroed it out, and we would have avoided this terrible blight on the town we are now experiencing,” Cappucci said. “It’s sickening. It’s absolutely disgusting.”
Cappucci said he was concerned a land-development company Keady formed would create a conflict of interest and warned him against proceeding.
“I think the bottom line was I wanted him to stop doing that and he refused to listen to me and I decided if he wouldn’t listen to me, he’s got to go,” Cappucci said.