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Town Council nullifies Beinema seat

Civil rights case likely

Ann Beinema. (click for larger version)
October 20, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — In a decision that most of the audience saw as a foregone conclusion but required a lot of back-and-forth over wording, the Town Council voted 6-1 to revoke Board of Health member Ann Beinema's 2009 appointment on the questionable grounds that it happened under "false pretenses."

With Conrad Vandal voting no, and Laurent McDonald and Darlene Marcucci absent, the majority declared that the council's confirmation of Beinema "was obtained by false pretense in that Mrs. Beinema stated she was no longer involved in the lawsuit against the town and the Board of Health."

At the time of her appointment, Beinema was indeed listed in court documents as leader of a 10-citizen group that was one of many plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the board's 2008 landfill site assignment. What's allegedly at issue is that during her appointment process, she was told to get an Ethics Commission letter regarding the issue and to get off the case, both of which happened. The letter came before the council voted unanimously to seat her, but the court process to remove her from the case dragged out until April 2010, although the request was first filed in August 2009.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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