Selectman Requested Removal of Political Signs
Pat Hargreaves said there was a misunderstanding regarding the eventual disposal of the signs.
Salem Board of Selectmen Chair Pat Hargreaves said he asked the town to remove political signs he said were covering veteran's markers around town.
Hargreaves said at Monday's meeting he noticed one night recently "a bunch" of markers around town were covered with political signs.
"To me a veteran's marker is holy ground," Hargreaves said. "It honors our veterans who made the supreme sacrifice and gave their lives to the United States and the Town of Salem."
Hargreaves said he asked Town Manager Keith Hickey to have the signs removed from the areas because they are "officially town property."
Hargreaves said Hickey asked him what he'd like to see done with the signs. Hargreaves said normally the town takes them to the transfer station where the owners can pick them up.
Unfortunately, Hargreaves said there was a "miscommunication" that led to the signs being discarded.
"I forgot the last time we did that our town manager was not aware of what we did with the political signs, so he instructed our DPW director to throw them away," Hargreaves said.
He then apologized to the local candidates for that action, but reiterated the signs should not have been on town property.
Doug Micklon, president of the Salem Veterans Association, was present Monday night and thanked Hargreaves for asking the signs that were "encroaching" on veteran's markers be removed.
"To us it is a hallowed ground, like a cemetery plot," Micklon said.
Selectmen discussed a potential new policy regarding signs near veteran's markers, but Hickey said it in essence already exists.
Political signs are not allowed on town property, Hickey said, and the veteran's markers are all on town property.
"We have rules, they should be enforced," Selectman Jim Keller said.
Selectman Stephen Campbell moved that political signs not be allowed within 10 feet of veteran's markers on public property as a policy by the Board of Selectman. That was passed unaimously.