MOULTONBOROUGH — Nearly 200 petitioners have urged the Board of Selectmen not to renew the contract of Town Administrator Carter Terenzini when it expires next year and to immediately convene a committee to search for his replacement.
Apart from Selectman Chris Shipp, who asked how many had signed the petition, the board accepted the petition in silence, while Terenzini jotted down notes. Speaking almost under his breath, Chairman Joel Mudgett said that the board would take the petition "under advisement".
Jordan Prouty, longtime trustee of the trust funds, presented the petition to the selectmen when they met last night. Reading from a prepared statement he described the town administrator as "the face of the town to the public," whose "actions, values, demeanor and character reflect who we are as a community. When citizens find that his conduct and values and actions do not reflect positively on our community," he continued, "they are left with no recourse, but to appeal to the body that made the decision to employ Mr. Terenzini."
Prouty said that petitioners share "a firm faith that a change will make for a better future." Noting "we wish Mr. Terenzini no ill will," he claimed that "his actions have created animosity and divisiveness both in and out of town hall" and concluded "we have lost confidence in his ability to properly represent the citizens of Moultonboro." The petitioners, he said, "do not take this action lightly," but believe a change is required to "move forward in a positive manner that better reflects our values."
The signatories to the petition, Prouty said, "are making a clear, fair request for a more harmonious future," which requires a town administrator "with natural leadership skills and values matching those exemplified by our many long term volunteers."
Terenzini has been unpopular among a section of the community for much of his five-year tenure and questions about his renewing his contract have arisen before.
But, the petition is the first open effort to oust him. It began to circulate about the time the Selectboard pursued removal proceedings against two members of the Planning Board — Josh Bartlett and Judy Ryerson — which after much prevarication and dissembling was ultimately revealed to have begun with a recommendation from Terenzini.
In 2010, Terenzini applied for a town administrator's position in Palmer, Massachusetts. A year later he was interviewed for a similar position in Kingston, Rhode Island and in 2012 he was among three finalists for an opening in Wareham, Massachusetts.