Selectmen unanimously accept resignation, separation agreement
By Shaun Moriarty
Citizen Chronicle Writer
OXFORD — Town Manager Brian Palaia has tendered his resignation.
Following an executive session discussion, the Board of Selectmen unanimously accepted Palaia’s resignation as well as a separation agreement between the Town and its chief executive officer. Selectman Alan Berthiaume was absent from the meeting. Palaia was not at the dais for the announcement.
Selectmen Chairman Dennie E. Lamarche announced the resignation prior to the vote being taken and followed the acceptance by reading from a prepared statement: “The Town of Oxford Board of Selectmen and Town Manager Brian Palaia have agreed to voluntarily separate from their employment relationship. The Board and Mr. Palaia have been working together on matters relating to the town leadership, identifying needs in effectuating the best transition. The Board and Mr. Palaia are both committed to the success of this transition and the future of the town. Mr. Palaia will remain available to assist in the transition if needed. The Board is grateful to Mr. Palaia for the success he has over his tenure with the town. His background, knowledge, and experience have lent themselves well to the town through the numerous projects he has been engaged in, from updating the town’s master plan to spearheading cost-saving initiatives. The Board wishes to express its appreciation for Mr. Palaia’s efforts and initiatives on behalf of the town and its residents and wishes him well in his future endeavors. The Board will be identifying an acting town manager in the near future to carry on his work while a search for a permanent town manager is conducted. As this is a personnel matter, the Board of Selectmen will not be commenting any further on this issue and matter other than to announce a decision concerning an acting town manager in the near future.”
Palaia was hired in December 2014 when he left the town administrator position in Milton, Vermont, in order to relocate closer to family in Connecticut. The town manager was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this month after allegations surfaced that he had been drinking alcohol while on the job, including an allegation that Palaia had driven a town vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Palaia was also recently criticized by Auburn Fire and Rescue Chief Stephen Coleman, Jr., after the town manager allegedly forbid official town email or social media to be used to promote a retirement party for Oxford Fire Chief Sheri Bemis. Coleman admonished Palaia’s stance on the party, slated for April 21 in Auburn, calling the decision “classless.”