By Katina Caraganis
SHIRLEY — Selectmen will begin to draw up charges to fire Chief Administrative Officer Dave Berry, Selectmen David Swain and Kendra Dumont said Thursday.
Berry was asked to resign by Swain and Dumont. He has a “just cause” clause in his contract that the town can execute if they deemed Berry was not measuring up. Swain said that because Berry has not been an effective manager, selectmen have enough reason to execute the clause.
Swain said Thursday afternoon that Berry had reached out to the three members of the board to sit down with them individually to discuss any concerns each may have with him. Swain scheduled his meeting for last Thursday, but Berry canceled the meeting earlier in the day via email.
“He has yet to reach out to reschedule,” Swain said. “At this point, I see no reason to reschedule. He will have the opportunity Jan. 28 to discuss things with us.”
Berry has the option to discuss the matter in open session or behind closed doors.
“I gave him the opportunity meet with me, and he canceled without a reason, so I don’t plan to go out of my way to meet with him prior to our board meeting,” Swain said.
Selectmen voted 2-1 Jan. 7 to ask Berry to step down. Board Chairman Andy Deveau, the minority vote, said at the meeting that the move to oust Berry is a mistake and the town could face litigation. He said he was “blindsided” by the motion.
Dumont said she has yet to schedule her sit-down with Berry, but anticipates doing it sometime next week. However, she said, at this point she doesn’t feel she will change her mind about looking to dismiss him.
“The town is tight for money and he hasn’t brought in anything in terms of grants,” she said. During his interview, Berry promised selectmen he would bring in enough grant money to cover the salary increase between what he was looking for and what the town had budgeted.
Dumont did not support the hiring of Berry and she did not sign his contract.
“I remember when he was hired, I said I hope I was wrong with how I felt and I would have to get up at Town Meeting and say I was wrong about him,” she said. “I don’t think we should hire another chief administrative officer. I think for the size of our town, a town administrator is enough.”
Berry was not at Monday night’s board meeting. Both Swain and Dumont said Deveau advised Berry to not be at the meeting.
Both Deveau and Berry did not return messages seeking comment.
Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @Caraganis.