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Monterey selectman accuses colleague of conflict of interest

By Hannah Shirley

MONTEREY — After town officials publicly butted heads over the recording of meetings last week, the select board implemented a policy regulating the way the audio recordings are stored.

At a Jan. 18 meeting, administrative assistant Melissa Noe alleged verbal and physical harassment against Select Board member Don Coburn. According to Noe’s complaint, Coburn entered her office to listen to the recording from a past select board meeting, and became angry upon finding out she had deleted it, allegedly throwing her audio recording device on her desk.

At the Jan. 18 hearing, town counsel Jeremia Pollard suggested the board come up with an official policy about how to handle the audio recordings of meetings.

At the regular select board meeting Jan. 23, Select Board Chair Carol Edelman pointed out that they didn’t previously have such a policy, and there was no state law regulating audio recordings of public meetings, either.

“Just throwing my two cents in,” she said. “I have no objection to recording meetings.”

Noe said she primarily uses the recordings for reference while writing the minutes, and unless there’s something in the audio she needs to save, she said she usually deletes them once the minutes have been sent out.

Select board member Don Coburn suggested from now on, she save all recordings on her computer for a designated amount of time.

“Three years,” suggested Coburn.

“See, I was going to say five,” said Select Board member Ken Bassler. “But three sounds good.”

The policy passed quickly, easily and more or less amicably — but the apparent conflicts were not yet in the past for the select board.

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