DRACUT -- A four-member majority of the Board of Selectmen, overriding Selectman Tami Dristiliaris' strong objection, voted 4-1 to send the state a letter from the Dracut Housing Authority requesting the dismissal of DHA Commissioner Brian Bond.
The Housing Authority's letter calling for Bond's removal -- due to a series of allegedly "disgraceful" acts, as described in "R"-rated detail by the letter's author, DHA Chairman Russ Taylor -- legally required the selectmen's permission to be forwarded to the state Department of Housing and Community Development, according to Town Attorney James Hall.
Bond, appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick in August 2011, is the governor's sole appointee on the DHA commission. The other four members are elected.
Dristiliaris, who is also an attorney, argued vehemently that selectmen should not be involved in referring Taylor's letter to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
"It was heated words involving members of the Housing Authority. They can deal with their own problems," Dristiliaris said. "I'm insulted that this was even brought before us."
Disagreeing with Dristiliaris, Selectman Tony Archinski argued that selectmen are empowered to involve themselves in deciding whether to remove a Housing Authority member due to "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office."
Selectman Joe DiRocco and Chairman Cathy Richardson joined Selectman Alison Hughes and Archinski in voting to refer the DHA's letter to the state, with Dristiliaris opposed.
"I've heard from many seniors who were upset by this," Richardson said before the vote.
"The seniors do not know anything about this," said Dristiliaris.
"Yes, they do," Richardson countered.
Bond is under investigation by the Department of Housing and Community Development as a result of angry messages he sent on Facebook and by phone text to Taylor and former Selectman Warren Shaw after Bond's May 5 election loss to DHA member Jesse Forcier. Taylor and Shaw, two of Dracut's most prominent residents, both voted for Forcier to win the three-year elected seat on the Housing Authority rather than Bond. Among the messages Bond sent the two men on election night, he urged the cancer-stricken Taylor to "die," and to Shaw Bond wrote, "I blame you."
Though Bond apologized to both men hours after his election-night tirade, Taylor said Bond has crossed the line of impropriety too many times in the past with fellow Housing Authority members and employees, and that he needs to either step down from the post or be removed.
In addition to recapping Bond's recent behavior, Taylor's letter that selectmen voted Tuesday to forward to DHCD also included charges that:
* "While serving as the Dracut Housing Authority representative to the CPC, during a meeting Commissioner Bond verbally attacked secretary Samantha Carver, berated her, bullied her and created a hostile work environment to the point she quit as secretary."
* "During a meeting, when they were discussing a farm owned by a well-known Polish family, Bond made the statement to Linda Kawa, a CPC board member, 'The problem with Dracut is there are too many Polacks,' She was highly offended."
* "During a CPC meeting when Commissioner Bond was having a disagreement with Jesse Forcier, (also) a CPC board member, he said to Jessie: 'Let's go outside in the parking lot and settle this.' The inference being he wanted to fight him."
* "Commissioner Bond interfered with, bullied, and threatened a DHA employee, Mark Ivos, acting outside his authority as a commissioner. Commissioner Bond criticized Ivos by telling him, 'You have been here for 19 years, but not working for 19 years. ... I would like to follow you around for a day and see what you do. I can talk you right out of Dracut. Watch my (DATV) show tonight and you'll find out what's going on.' Commissioner Bond asked that Ivos be reprimanded and given a suspension. After a hearing, no suspension of discipline was issued by the executive director (Mary Karabatsos)."
Concluding his letter to the state housing department, Taylor wrote: "Commissioner Bond while representing the Dracut Housing Authority has acted inappropriately and has brought disgrace upon it. As a result of this I am asking this motion (to send a letter to the Board of Selectmen asking for Bonds' removal) be approved."
Bond, who attended Tuesday's selectmen's meeting, offered one comment to a reporter who asked his reaction to the selectmen's discussion.
"They will be hearing from my attorney," said Bond. "I have hired a law firm in Boston."
Bond declined to specify who "they" referred to, or to provide the name of the law firm he hired.
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