, Salem, MA

Local News

March 4, 2014

Former chairman blasts Cahill

Mayor removed Dinkin from Planning Board on Feb. 14

BEVERLY — Ousted Planning Board chairman Richard Dinkin is not leaving quietly.

Dinkin last night blasted Mayor Mike Cahill for removing him from the Planning Board, saying the decision “sends a chilling message to dozens of hardworking volunteers who serve on our city’s boards and commissions.”

“Board members must now take care not to upset a sitting mayor or any of the special interests to whom he makes a commitment,” Dinkin said.

Dinkin made his remarks in front of the City Council at City Hall, taking advantage of a provision in the City Charter that allows an official who has been removed by the mayor to speak before the council.

Cahill, who took office in January, removed Dinkin from the board on Feb. 14 after Dinkin refused Cahill’s request that he resign. Dinkin, 63, served as a volunteer on the Planning Board for 30 years under three previous mayors, including the last 14 as chairman. His term was not scheduled to expire until the end of 2015.

In a written statement, Cahill called 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 said last night that Cahill’s statement does not meet the standards set by the City Charter, which requires a mayor to file a statement “setting forth in precise detail the special reasons for such removal or suspension.”

Dinkin said the lack of a detailed explanation leaves the city vulnerable to a court voiding Planning Board decisions under the grounds that the board is “not properly constituted.”

“I would find it sad if future Planning Board decisions were placed in jeopardy by an avoidable technicality,” Dinkin said.

Asked later if he planned to take any legal action against the city, Dinkin said that was “not a question I am prepared to answer at this time.”

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