By Katina Caraganis
SHIRLEY — Members of the Sewer Commission this week opted to table a vote on whether they should change the location of their meetings to accommodate a member who hasn’t been able to attend in months.
Bob Scholar, a member since its inception nearly 10 years ago and a member of the Finance Committee, cannot enter any town-owned building unless invited or accompanied by a police officer after comments he made during a public meeting last spring.
Schuler made a reference at a meeting May 2 to take out his gun and start shooting in his frustration over the apparent lack of progress in preparing the budget.
Since being banned from town buildings, he had been listening to Sewer Commission meetings via speaker phone, but members of the commission have expressed a desire to relocate their meetings to accommodate Schuler, who is up for re-election this year.
A meeting scheduled for earlier this month was going to be held at the Bull Run Restaurant in town, but Sewer Commissioner Patricia Krauchune objected to the change in location and filed an Open Meeting Law complaint before the meeting.
Sewer Commission Chairman James Schaff issued a response to Krauchune’s complaint, saying they did not feel a violation had occurred.
The meeting was originally scheduled to happen at the Bull Run, but Schaff’s response said the board realized it could be a conflict of interest because the restaurant is owned by Sewer Commissioner Chip Guercio’s sister.
“The Open Meeting Law is silent as to where a meeting can take place,” according to Schaff’s response.
Guercio suggested that before any decision was made about a change in venue for meetings, he and the other members of the commission should go before the Board of Selectmen to present all the positive things the commission has done since its inception and the importance of having all members present.
Schaff said he had received word from the Attorney General’s office that under a new clause in the Open Meeting Law, Schuler meets the requirements to remotely participate in meetings, so a change of location may not even be necessary.
Krauchune said she did not believe Schuler’s case falls under any of the five criteria that must be met to remotely participate in meetings.
“All he has to do is take anger management and the no-trespass would be lifted,” he said. “How are we supposed to feel safe meeting somewhere else?”
Sewer Commissioner Donald Farrar Jr. said that if the board decided down the road to change its meeting location, Phoenix Park offered to let them use their conference room.