HALIFAX — Selectman Jonathan Selig, the town’s only remaining member of the board, conducted a regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting in the Great Hall at Halifax Town Hall, to deal with town business in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
After the shocking resignation of his two other board members, as well as Town Administrator Marty Golightly, Selig put out a notice taking charge and requesting calm from the townspeople.
“I want the people of Halifax to know this — we will be following the proper procedures going forward and we will get through this,” he said.
Thursday’s emergency meeting, Aug. 25, at 2:30 p.m. was convened with the sole purpose on the agenda to accept the resignation of town administrator, after only five weeks on the job.
Chair Ashley DiSesa began the meeting.
“We got an email this morning from Mr. Golightly saying that his intention is to move on as planned; he did reconsider but feels the town is not the right fit for him.” DiSesa said to Golightly, “I thank you. I think you’re an amazing human being and I’m sorry that our town is very toxic and the way that you’ve been treated by residents and some town employees, so I apologize too on behalf of us because the whole town is not like that, so I’m sorry.”
Golightly previously served as the Director of Public Health in Abington during much of the pandemic. Regarding his resignation from that position, he said, “it just wasn’t the time to live and work in the same community.” It had been reported that Golightly had received “personal attacks and threats” during his time in the position.
DiSesa then read a statement regarding her own position within the town. She began, “When I was elected, I was told this would be a thankless job. What I didn’t realize was that thankless would be the least of my worries. I’ve weathered the storm of misogyny, sexual harassment, underestimation, and doubts about my abilities to perform the expected duties. Nonetheless, I believed that my becoming a selectwoman would allow me to make a difference in a town I consider myself fortunate enough to call home with my 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.”
She continued, “Over the past 16 months, I have dedicated countless hours to this town, taking away from my children and have withstood multiple personal attacks without retribution.” DiSesa noted that she was not perfect but said that she “maintained an optimistic belief” that doing the right thing would be worthwhile all while losing people she considered friends. She continued with her statement saying, “I’ve seen our small town be torn apart by personal vendettas — a group of officials and some town employees who live by the mentality “rules for thee and not for me.
“I wanted to believe Halifax was better than this. That we could work together for a common cause, compromise, and be able to disagree without being so disagreeable.” DiSesa noted that it was an “honor” to work with Halifax’s Police and Fire Departments saying that they were the heart of the town. She then said that her resignation would be effective that day at 3 pm.
Selectman Alex Meade began his own statement by saying, “Idiotic, disgraceful, shameful, and embarrassing are just a handful of the adjectives that have been used to describe me and my conduct after taking my Select Board position.” Meade, who began as Selectman in May, had unseated Gordon Andrews for a three-year term on the Board during the most recent town election. He continued, “Since the election, I have been threatened, I have been verbally attacked, and I have had lies and rumors about my private life thrust into the public spotlight for reasons unknown. Despite all of that… I have continued to do what I believe is in the best interest of the town.”
Meade said that after a recent meeting, the Selectmen were encouraged to use a separate exit because of the commotion surrounding the outcome of the meeting.
“Quite frankly, I have enough self-respect to take the high road and not engage when misplaced negative rhetoric and a mob mentality emerges, but I know, too, that I deserve better treatment by other members of my community,” he said.
Meade said that despite working with good members of the community on other boards and committees, he would be resigning immediately following the meeting in the interest of the health and safety of his family especially his children.
The Selectmen then voted unanimously to accept the resignations of Marty Golightly, Ashley DiSesa, and Alex Meade. Jonathan Selig, who has been serving since May and was elected to the one-year term that was previously filled by Troy Garron, is now the only remaining Selectman in town.
To fill the vacancies on the board, Town Clerk Susan Lawless worked put out the election calendar that would best suit the town. It was decided in the interest of cost efficiency, the election would be held alongside the town’s state election Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Nomination papers are available now at the Office of the Town Clerk until Sept. 20. They must be returned with signatures by Oct. 4. Those wishing to vote in the special election must register by Saturday, Oct. 29. Nov. 1 is the deadline to post the warrant.
After adjourning the meeting, the audience of about 50 residents stood in applause for Selectman Jonathan Selig for stepping up.