Sudbury Police Chief Richard Glavin appeared at Tuesday night's meeting of the Board of Selectmen to discuss on Boston Post Road regarding an incident on May 9, when several town officials were found to be present in the establishment past the time it was supposed to close, according to the terms of its liquor license.
"As I indicated at the last meeting, I have recused myself from any discussion involving Lavender," said Selectmen Chair Larry O'Brien, who has admitted to being present in the restaurant on the night in question. "When you recuse yourself, it is required that you leave the room. On that note, I will leave the room at this time."
The meeting was then turned over the Selectman Robert Haarde, who agreed that "leaving the room is the appropriate thing to do. I'm sure you've seen people recuse themselves, and then join the crowd, but in fact the appropriate thing to do is to leave the room."
"The penalty phase is over," Haarde said, referring to the written warning that was issued to Lavender's shortly after the violation. "We have now moved into the resolution phase."
"We need to move on as a community. We are all in this together," said Selectman John Drobinski. He previously said he was present at Lavender earlier in the evening, but stressed that he left before any violation occurred. He offered no public comment but offered to personally call a resident who wondered why he was the subject of a brief missing persons report on May 9 and explain his whereabouts at the time. At the last Selectmen's meeting, Drobinski refused suggestions that he should also recuse himself from any discussion of the case.
"I want to make sure that everyone is on their best behavior. Please no chatter or references to any other matters, criminal or otherwise, or any kind of personnel matter," said Haarde, in an apparent reference to , who was present at the gathering at Lavender following the Town Meeting.
That accident has been the subject of concern among residents, who have asked why town officials whom they suspect of having known that Rust allegedly had too much to drink did not prevent her from driving. It is her third time facing OUI charges.
"I try to stay consistent with what we have done in the past. I didn't want to overdo it, I didn't want to underdo it," Glavin said, regarding the warning letter he sent to Lavender's, which he said was the same as would have been received by any other business accused of the same violation. He said liquor license violations occur infrequently in Sudbury, and in cases where businesses have received warning letters regarding a violation, they corrected the situation without a second incident.
He also noted that he feels that an incident involving the serving of alcohol to an individual who is younger than the age of 21 is more serious than the serving of alcohol to an individual older than 21 past the allowed hours.
"We're reasonable. If someone is three minutes past the time, we just make our presence known," said Glavin, who stressed the good relationship the police department works to maintain with the community and with businesses. He said a cruiser driving past a parking lot often serves an effective reminder that closing time has come.
"This is Sudbury," Haarde agreed. "We don't want to live in a police state, where someone is getting handcuffs slapped on them for being a few minutes late."
Haarde said owners of Lavender are on vacation in Maine this week, but have expressed a willingness to attend a future Selectmen's meeting to answer any questions about the incident, which has sparked
"There's a whole bunch of behavioral issues going on here," said resident Brian Semple, who wondered why it took two drive-bys by police cruisers before town officials who previously claimed that they "simply lost track of time" cleared out of the business. "I think the town is owed an apology for this."
"RECALL," resident Bob Stein wrote out on a yellow legal pad.