Pepperell Health Board member resigns

Grover Pillsbury announces resignation from board after Open Meeting Law violation complaints stall

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Grover Pillsbury at a recent meeting of the Pepperell Board of Health

PEPPERELL – Six months after first calling foul against a mobile home company and his own colleagues, Grover Pillsbury announced he’s resigning from the Board of Health.

Speaking over the phone recently, Pillsbury confirmed that he submitted his resignation letter to Board of Selectmen Chair William Greathead and Clerk Margaret Scarsdale before posting the letter on his Facebook page.

Pillsbury was elected to the board for a three-year term in April 2019 but now claims that he “can no longer do the job that the residents elected [him] to do on this corrupt board.”

In the letter, Pillsbury laid out his reasoning for resigning was tied to the controversy over the Board of Health’s handling of complaints levied against Fairlane Homes.

The Lunenberg-based mobile home corporation owns mobile home parks in Shirley, Lunenburg, Erving and locally, including the Suburban Village mobile home park on Maple Street. One of Suburban Village’s residents, Jackie Bryson, said last October that Fairlane had allegedly failed to distribute state-approved tenant rules to all park residents.

Pillsbury mentioned in prior board meetings that he also believed Fairlane did not address alleged rodent problems and poor road conditions at Suburban Village, which could be classified as health and safety violations.

“To this day residents still do not have legal park rules,” Pillsbury’s letter read. “Park rules must be distributed to all residents and be signed by the owner of the park.”

Pillsbury went on to accuse the board of fraud through its actions at a Dec. 27, 2019 meeting, where the board approved a renewal of Suburban Village’s park permit. He claimed that Bryson, who attended the meeting to issue concerns, was shut down by Board Chair Margie LaFleur during the meeting. When Bryson persisted and asked LaFleur to read the law that allowed the chair to cut off further public discussion, Pillsbury said that LaFleur read the law and “added an unprofessional monologue” directed at him. He also claims that the interaction was edited out of the video of the meeting by Pepperell Community Media and not recorded in writing by Brynn Montesanti, who was the then-secretary of the board and is now the Town Clerk.  Pillsbury also sees Montesanti’s promotion as an ethics violation.

“You are the governing body and must investigate and clean up the town and the corruption,” the letter reads. “With my resignation, you will appoint a new member and I hope you will choose a person who will follow the law and work for the residents of Pepperell. Although, I do not feel good about it.”

The now-former board member filed an open meeting law violation to Attorney General Maura Healey in January, with Bryson filing her own complaint to the Board of Health in February. Pillsbury said he has yet to hear back from Healey’s office regarding the complaint.

Pillsbury said that he’s planning to sue Fairlane for defamation of character. This suit is part of another allegation that the company forwarded his email address to other real estate companies and alerting them to not do business with him. He also cited repeated issues with MacLean.

“The Town Administrator has been trying to get me off the board since Dec. 27, at least four times or by silencing me,” he added.

MacLean said on Wednesday that he did read Pillsbury’s letter, referring to it as the talk of Town Hall for the last 15 hours. While he added that the town will be accepting Pillsbury’s resignation, MacLean said his accusations are “without merit” and referred to them as a “conspiracy.”

He even noted how Pillsbury accused him two weeks ago of paying off a member of the Board of Health. MacLean said the Board of Selectmen have agreed to admonish Pillsbury of the accusation and that Town Council will compose a letter stating that Pillsbury was out of line.

“This has been a huge problem,” he added. “He’s making accusations that can’t be substantiated. We’re not Russian mobsters, this is a little small town.”

As for the vacancy in the board, MacLean said no special election will be needed and the position will be up for filling at the next town election in April 2021. This of course would only be for one year to finish out Pillsbury’s current three-year term.