New twist in Auburn illegal dumping
AUBURN — Police Chief Edward Picard said he will follow the Board of Selectmen’s suggestion and submit his investigations into illegal dumping in town to the Rockingham County Attorney’s office this week.
“This way an independent outside agency can look at everything,” Picard said after meeting with selectmen.
The matter involves illegal dumping at the old landfill, illegal dumping and excavating done at resident Geraldine Silva’s property, along with Road Agent Mike Dross’s potential involvement.
Dross said he had no comment about the investigation or the dumping.
Picard also told Selectmen he believes five loads of material were dumped at the department’s shooting range. Asked by Selectman Paul Raiche how Picard thinks the trash got there, Picard responded, “I assume it came from people working up at that landfill.”
He added, “This is the range we qualify our people on, land which was designated to us by the board, and has been rendered useless because five dumps of refuge (have) been dumped there. This is childish junior high school crap,” Picard said.
After the meeting, Dross acknowledged that he dumped the material there, but said he did so in order to separate old rusted culvert pipes from gravel that could be used as usable material. He said it came from a road job.
“All (the police) had to do is ask me and I would have cleared it up in five minutes. You can go up there now, it’s all gone,” Dross said.
Picard told Selectmen the department’s investigation into allegations of illegal dumping and excavating has stalled.
“We need your assistance,” Picard told board members, “some people in town are not cooperating, including at the landfill.”
At a previous Police Commission meeting, police officials stated they are frustrated that Dross has been evasive when interviewed by police regarding the dumping. Picard said that if those involved in the investigation don’t start cooperating, he would ask that a grand jury be convened so they can be summoned to answer questions there.
Picard said the lock to the gate at the old landfill has been changed, and the heavy equipment stored at the landfill has been placed along the access road to the landfill to prevent police cruisers from passing. Dross and former Town Road Agent John Rolfe store heavy equipment at the old landfill.
“We have literally been locked out of the landfill, which is town property,” Picard said. “We sent a letter to the (Board of Selectmen), which said we wanted a key after the lock was changed, and we never got one.”
Board of Selectmen Chair Russell Sullivan said it was ridiculous that the police department does not have access to the old landfill, and directed town administrator Bill Herman to provide police with a key to the new lock as soon as possible.Picard also took the Board of Selectmen to task over their handling of reports of illegal dumping and excavating at the property of Geraldine Silva. The board maintained throughout the meeting that Silva’s issue was a Planning Board matter.
“I don’t see it that way; it’s a town issue that needs to be addressed, and expediency should be on the forefront,” Picard told the board.
Members of the public also took the board to task during Monday’s meeting regarding the road agent’s budget, which has more than doubled since 2005, the year before Dross was elected.