A member of the Camden Select Board has resigned following a disagreement over the town’s COVID-19 policies.
In his resignation letter ― which was accepted by the Select Board Tuesday night ― Matthew Siegel did not give a reason for resigning. However, the resignation comes after Siegel raised concerns over the town not having strict enough COVID-19 policies, according to Town Manager Audra Caler, though she said she could not speak for him on why he made the decision to resign.
Siegel couldn’t be reached for comment.
“When I explained to him what our policy and practices actually are [versus] what he believed them to be, there were (and still, apparently remain) a lot of misconceptions,” Caler said in an email.
Camden does not have a mask mandate in place in town buildings. It is recommended that people entering town buildings wear masks, and there are signs in place stating that recommendation, Caler said. Employees are required to wear masks when they are away from their individual work stations.
Siegel tendered his resignation on Jan. 21, just a couple of days after he talked with Caler about creating a display offering masks at the entry of the town office. The day after the Jan. 18 conversation, Siegel went to the town office but the display was not yet up.
Caler said she was happy to work with Siegel on creating the mask display, however, she did not have time to immediately put it together following their conversation. Caler said Siegel had an “unrealistic expectation” that the display would be implemented by the morning of Jan. 19.
“This created an awkward and uncomfortable situation when Mr. Siegel demanded town employees immediately put up the mask display he requested,” Caler said. “The real issue is that it’s completely unacceptable for an individual Select Board member to direct town staff to carry out their individual priorities. Everyone, regardless of whether you’re an elected or appointed official, must be clear on roles and responsibilities and the imbalanced power dynamic that can be created when lines are crossed.”
Caler said the mask and sanitation display has since been put up at the town office.
Siegel was elected to the Select Board in June. Prior to serving on the panel, he was a member of the town’s planning board and has also served as a representative for the town with the Midcoast Internet Coalition.