Residents Push to Have Hamilton Town Attorney Replaced
A letter signed by 20 Hamilton residents was brought to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night, asking that Town Counsel not be reappointed and that legal services be put out to bid.
A group of Hamilton residents asked the Board of Selectmen on Monday night to not reappoint the town’s attorney, Donna Brewer.
North Street resident Jay Burnham read a two-page letter to the board – signed by a total of 20 residents – “and supported by many others,” Burnham said.
“As a result of her actions, Attorney Brewer has forfeited the trust, respect and confidence of the community and appropriately, she should be terminated as Town Counsel,” the letter stated.
A complete copy of the letter is attached to this story as a PDF.
Burnham said that the so-called Urbelis report, prepared nearly three years ago to determine Brewer’s role in police department problems at the time – but publicly released last month – “determined that Ms. Brewer did in fact willfully and without justifiable excuse act in an inappropriate and culpable manner,” Burnham said. “Citizens are understandably outraged.”
Brewer, a Hamilton resident, has lost the town money in lost and settled lawsuits, Burnham said, including a lawsuit by former Police Officer Michael Marchand that was settled for $1.285 million. The settlement was paid by the town’s insurance company and it is unclear what extent the settlement may affect the town’s premium.
The board was asked to put the town’s legal services out to bid.
Board Chairman David Neill said the issue was not on the board’s agenda for Monday night and the board could not discuss it further.
“This is not the forum to discuss what he just brought up,” Neill said, later adding; “We will take it under advisement.”
Brewer was not in attendance. In a previous interview with Hamilton-Wenham Patch, she said she hopes to continue to work as town counsel.
“I’m willing, able and happy to keep serving the town,” Brewer said last month. “I enjoy the work and I will serve as long as the town wants me.”
Brewer’s term as town counsel expired on June 30 and Town Manager Michael Lombardo has recommended that she be reappointed.
Two years ago, Brewer told Selectmen that she did not wish to be reappointed. But her request was rejected and she was kept as town attorney as the board transitioned from three members to five members and new Town Manager Michael Lombardo, the town’s first ever town manager, started work.
Last week, Burnham sought to have Brewer’s reappointment added as an agenda item for Monday night’s meeting. Lombardo said that he would not add it as an agenda item and instead encouraged Burnham to meet with him and provide any additional information that Lombardo would need to make the decision. Instead, Burnham brought it up during the public comment section on Monday at Hamilton Town Hall, when residents can address the board on items that are not otherwise on the agenda.
Lombardo was on vacation on Monday and not in attendance at the meeting.
Previously, Lombardo said he supports Brewer’s reappointment.
The Urbelis report, he said, did not show that Brewer acted as a ”rogue agent” during the time in question.
“There’s no smoking gun I could really point to,” Lombardo said.