Marc P. Finneran of Trotting Park Road, Teaticket has filed a complaint of assault and battery against Department of Public Works Director Raymond A. Jack and his wife, Alice M. Jack, in Falmouth District Court.
The alleged assault occurred about two hours into last week’s selectmen’s meeting, following a discussion the board had on implementing a pay-as-you-throw curbside trash pickup.
During a brief recess, as residents filed out of the selectmen’s meeting room, Mr. Finneran said he passed by Mr. Jack and his wife asking if “he was going to sue me.”
In response Mr. Jack, rose from his seat and started screaming at Mr. Finneran. In his complaint, Mr. Finneran wrote that Ms. Jack pushed him back with both her hands on his chest. “As this was occurring I fended off a right hand” that he wrote was the closed fist of Mr. Jack.
“I said to the woman [Ms. Jack] who was screaming, ‘Just get out of here. Who are you?’ Mr. Jack then screamed, ‘Don’t talk to my wife’ and ‘I’ll rip your head off, you scumbag’,” according to Mr. Finneran’s complaint.
Mr. Finneran then exited town hall and considered returning, but elected not to. “As this was happening people, including Gerry Potamis, were restraining an obviously out-of-control Ray Jack,” Mr. Finneran wrote. “Due to the state of Mr. Jack I chose not to reenter the meeting.”
I believe the actions of Mr. Jack and his wife to be an affront to all residents of Falmouth and should not go undisciplined. I have filed complaints in court and further shall leave all legal avenues open.
A clerk magistrate hearing on the matter is scheduled for Thursday, October 18, at 10 AM in Falmouth District Court. A crime of assault and battery is a misdemeanor and carries with it a maximum penalty of not more than two and a half years in a house of corrections or a fine of $500.
Mr. Jack could not be reached for comment.
This morning Lieutenant Brian Reid said the police department has opened its own investigation, separate from Mr. Finneran’s complaint, on last Monday’s incident. “I can tell you we are still in the process of conducting interviews of all involved parties,” he said.
In addition to filing a complaint with the police, Mr. Finneran lodged a second one with Town Manager Julian M. Suso writing that, “I believe the actions of Mr. Jack and his wife to be an affront to all residents of Falmouth and should not go undisciplined. I have filed complaints in court and further shall leave all legal avenues open.”
Mr. Suso acknowledged receiving Mr. Finneran’s complaint, which he said is lacking in detail. “It mentions three names in here: Mr. Finneran’s, Mr. Jack and Mr. Jack’s wife,” he said. “There are no dates, times, no details as to any allegation.”
Mr. Suso did say he has spoken with Mr. Jack since Monday night, but would not comment on the nature of those conversations. “This was a very serious disruptive incident at the selectmen’s meeting and we are treating it as such,” he said.
His office, he said, will reserve judgment until police conclude their investigation.
Finneran Takes Shots At DPW Director
Last Monday’s exchange was prompted earlier in the night when Mr. Finneran was interviewing for a seat on the capital advisory committee at the start of the meeting.
Throughout his interview, Mr. Finneran was highly critical of Mr. Jack and his leadership of the DPW, accusing him of building a faulty water tower on Sam Turner Road that has since led to a lawsuit with the Ballymeade Property Owners Association, not properly flushing the town’s water system and mismanaging the town dump to the point Falmouth was not paid for scrap metal picked up at the facility from 2007 to 2009.
He continued his criticism of Mr. Jack, saying that the town has “a lot of incompetence, a lot of poor performance and a lot of abuse of infrastructure.”
Following his initial statement, several board members complained about his negativity. Chairman Kevin E. Murphy suggested that Mr. Finneran was probably not suited for the capital advisory committee. Mr. Murphy noted that no organization is perfect, but said selectmen are doing their best to keep the town moving forward in a positive direction.
“And I think you’re doing a good job,” Mr. Finneran said, stepping away from the lectern and getting in one last jab to Mr. Jack, telling him “you’re not” as he passed by the DPW director before walking back to his seat.
Mr. Jack acknowledged the slight minutes later before he started his presentation on-pay-as-you-throw, saying that the next time Mr. Finneran made a comment like that it would be with an attorney present.
More On Marc Finneran And Raymond Jack
Heated Exchange At Selectmen's Meeting (September 2012)
Marc Finneran Accuses Raymond Jack Of Incompetence (January 2012)
The scene was referenced at the beginning of last night’s selectmen’s meeting when Mr. Murphy said the board would be taking up a policy on the acceptable behavior for speakers and those in attendance.
Although people can be passionate on certain issues, Mr. Murphy said, there must be a civility and courtesy to public discourse. Going forward, he said, he would demand there be no speaking by those in attendance without being addressed. “There will be no catcalls or comments from the audience,” he said. “If you do have a comment, you may do so when you leave the room.”
About 20 minutes later the board agreed in principal with pursuing a policy on how those attending a selectmen’s meeting should comport themselves.
At its strategic planning retreat two years ago, Selectman David Braga said, the board had been given an example of such a policy used in other towns. “If you read it, it does make a lot of sense,” Mr. Braga said.
Selectman Brent V.W. Putnam said that it would be an extension of a code of conduct policy the board voted a few years ago.
Mr. Braga wondered when personal attacks became commonplace in politics. “If I have a disagreement with you, why do I have to tear down someone’s character?” he asked.
Selectman Douglas H. Jones agreed, stressing that the board needs to come across strongly in its new policy that there must be a civility, courtesy and respect at all meetings it holds.