Wayne Leeman (D. Lobkowicz photo, LCN file)
By Dominik Lobkowicz
The Waldoboro Board of Selectmen voted unanimously May 12 to approve an agreement allowing a suspended trash hauler to use the town’s transfer station again, despite objections from town officials.
The selectmen voted in February 2014 to suspend Wayne Leeman, a driver for Joe’s Rubbish Removal, after employees at the transfer station lodged complaints about him in December 2013.
The complaints referenced arguments and raised voices between Leeman and employees.
Concerns over Leeman’s behavior date back as far as September 2013, according to town documentation.
Leeman had his own concerns regarding the calculations of solid waste and recyclables he was depositing at the transfer station.
The town and Leeman attempted to resolve the issues in the intervening months after the December 2013 complaint, but the efforts failed and the selectmen voted unanimously on Feb. 25, 2014 to suspend Leeman from the transfer station indefinitely.
The union representing the transfer station employees accepted the disciplinary action against Leeman, heading off a potential lawsuit from the union against the town, Selectman Ron Miller said at the May 12 meeting.
Gifford Campbell, the shop steward for the union, cautioned the selectmen that if Leeman is allowed to use the transfer station again and there is another incident, the union will step in.
Under a signed agreement between Leeman and the selectmen, Leeman will be required to comply with the “Workplace Violence/Unacceptable Behavior” provisions in the attachments of the town’s solid waste ordinance.
If he violates the provisions, he will face a $250 fine and his right to use the transfer station will immediately be terminated.
Leeman also agreed not to take legal action against the town or its employees if the town enforces the agreement, or, if he does take legal action, will hold the town harmless for its costs in defending such action, according to the agreement.
Selectman Carl Cunningham said the agreement was long overdue, and that Leeman should be given a second chance.
Both Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs and Public Works Director John Daigle, however, said Leeman previously had four opportunities to change his behavior before the suspension was enacted.
“I disagree with this motion,” Briggs said.
Miller said Leeman sought out help on his own for anger management, and said he is confident the agreement will work if everyone respects the select board’s decision and works in a professional manner.
In a brief speech, Leeman thanked the board for letting him use the transfer station again.
“I’d like to have this left in the past and move forward in a positive manner,” he said.
Leeman made a point to shake hands with Briggs and each of the selectmen after the vote.
In other business, the selectmen set the public hearing for the annual town meeting warrant for Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m.