In Warner, two select board members rescind resignations, move to fire town administrator

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 07-20-2023 5:56 PM

After rescinding their resignations made the previous week, Warner select board members Jody Sloane and Christine Frost returned to town hall Tuesday with a new motion: to fire Diane Ricciardelli, the town administrator.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Harry Seidel appeared to be the lone board member and town government was at a halt due to the lack of a quorum.

On the agenda was one item – an update to a petition to appoint a second select board member, Faith Minton, through Merrimack Superior Court.

Before Seidel could read the petition into the minutes, Sloane and Frost affirmed they were rescinding their resignations and therefore the petition would be null as an open seat no longer existed.

“I am truly sorry for my resignation and what it has caused, the domino effect and disruption of the town,” said Frost. “The attorney did ask us to come back. We are here. We are trying to move forward in a productive way for this community.”

Both Frost and Sloane asserted that the town attorney asked them to rejoin the board so that they could appoint a new member. Then, they could resign again.

There was a meeting scheduled for last Friday morning, according to Frost, to appoint a new member and avoid court.

Seidel canceled the meeting an hour prior, Frost said.

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But Seidel maintained that the court petition was the only way forward. He initially asked both women to come back and they did not reply in the timeframe he needed, he said.

“You resigned,” he said. “In that situation, I was faced with no choice.”

In the past when a member has left the board, the nomination for a replacement would come before the board at a meeting where they would publicly accept it, according to Judy Newman-Rogers, the board’s administrative assistant.

With the case of a resignation, it could work the same way, she proposed.

Instead, Sloane and Frost moved forward with their motion to fire Ricciardelli.

“The motion on the table is improper because you do not have the authority to make that motion,” said Seidel.

Unswayed, Sloane and Frost voted in favor of their motion, passing it with two thirds of the vote. From his end, Seidel argued that the motion was improper. Frost then closed the meeting.

As if nothing happened, Seidel proceeded to read the petition into the meeting minutes, thank the residents who attended and closed the meeting for a second time.

The court hearing will proceed as usual tomorrow, according to town attorney Michael Courtney. At court, the judge will decide whether or not to appoint Minton to the board, providing clarity to the status of Frost and Sloane’s rescinded resignations.

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