SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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February 15, 2014

Cahill to remove Beverly Planning Board chairman

BEVERLY — Mayor Mike Cahill said yesterday that he will remove the chairman of the city’s Planning Board after he refused Cahill’s request that he resign.

In a statement, Cahill called Planning Board Chairman Richard Dinkin’s removal “a necessary step in efforts to establish a tone throughout my administration and throughout our city of respect in all public discourse — respect for all individuals involved and respect for the process.”

Dinkin, 63, has served on the Planning Board for 30 years, the last 14 as chairman. The board came under criticism recently for its support of the controversial Brimbal Avenue rezoning.

Dinkin said Cahill is allowing a “small group of people to get in the way of the welfare of the city.”

“My view is that the mayor is being influenced by a small group of people who feel alienated from the Planning Board,” Dinkin said. “This is a way the mayor feels he can achieve political support from them.”

Cahill said he offered Dinkin the opportunity to resign, but Dinkin refused and then called the media.

Dinkin said he didn’t want to resign quietly and let Cahill avoid going public with his reasons.

“I want him on the record,” Dinkin said. “I think he owes it to the citizens of Beverly and owes it to me to have it on the record.”

The City Charter says the mayor can remove a board member by filing a written statement with the city clerk “setting forth in precise detail the specific reasons” for removal, and sending a copy of the statement to the board member.

Dinkin’s term was set to expire in December 2015. The Planning Board’s next meeting is March 18.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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