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Months after winning seat, Shirley selectman resigns

Former selectman James Wilson

SHIRLEY – James Wilson, who was elected to the Board of Selectmen during a recall election in January, abruptly resigned Monday, hours before the board was scheduled to meet.

In an email to Town Clerk Bill Oelfke, Wilson wrote: “Bill effective 1215 hours on 08/07/2017 I resign the position of selectmen in the Town of Shirley.
“Respectfully Submitted
“James D. Wilson.”

Attempts to reach Wilson by phone, text and email have not been successful.

Wilson was elected in a January 2017 special election to complete the term of a recalled selectman, Bob Prescott. Wilson was unopposed in the May town election to serve a three year term, until the spring of 2020.

When he was elected in January, Wilson said: “People in town have given us a mandate for change.”

During his tenure on the board, Wilson, a retired police officer, was sometimes a dissenting voice.

In February, he cast the only vote against placing then Police Chief Thomas Goulden on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation. Goulden was not at the meeting and Wilson said he should have a chance to explain to the board.

When Selectman Rico Cappucci said he wanted to give Acting Police Chief Sammy Santiago a three-year contract during the same meeting in July that selectmen announced Goulden would not return to his job, Wilson wanted to wait until the next meeting to get more community input.
Chairman Holly Haase agreed with Wilson. Two weeks later, the whole board voted to offer the contract to Santiago.

“I appreciate the work he did while he was there,” Haase said of Wilson. “He always had great input. I learned a lot from him on areas I knew nothing about.”

Haase was elected at the same time to complete a term expiring in 2018. Kendra Dumont was recalled from that seat.

Selectman Rico Cappucci was elected to a three-year term in 2016.

Selectmen will discuss holding a special election during their next meeting, said Town Administrator Patrice Garvin.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor

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