Wiscasset Select Board Chair Judith Colby decried what she labeled as personal attacks at the board’s regular meeting March 6.

Colby, reading from a prepared statement she wrote, was responding to a press release distributed by Mark Robinson, a public-relations specialist representing people who oppose a Maine Department of Transportation project in town, particularly Ralph Doering III, a landowner in town. The project, which would remove all on-street parking on Main Street, has become a hot-button issue in town.

Robinson’s release was addressing a select board decision on language used in a referendum residents will consider on April 17, which will ask them to consider whether or not to continue a lawsuit against MDOT. The release specifically addresses Colby’s involvement in the process, and was made before the select board’s final decision on the question’s wording.

“You’ve got to hand it to the chair, that was a slick parliamentary maneuver,” stated Robinson in the release. “By introducing a referendum, she delays discussion of the legal donations. By controlling the language, she kills discussion of the legal donations. She’s in the minority on the board, but if she gets that misleading language she hopes to override voters’ previous rejection of the project, pave over town history and get her project. For her and her allies, everything depends on keeping the voters from knowing that they don’t have to pay for the lawsuit. They’re banking on the fear of legal costs.”

Colby denounced the release, and said that the implications of Robinson’s statement are untrue.

“Wow, I never realized I had that much power that I could control the vote of the citizens of the town and the information the citizens receive,” she said. “I’d suggest this type of bullying must stop. Discrediting me or questioning my motive is not what’s best for this town. Personal attacks will only cause more division and resentment in the town.”

She also addressed the continued assertion that Doering has offered pay all legal fees the town incurs while engaged in a lawsuit against MDOT, saying that anyone willing to pay that much money likely has ulterior motives.

Robinson said that the release was in no way intended to be a personal attack.

“I would not call it a personal attack. The majority of the select board favors defending town ordinances, a minority doesn’t, that’s just a fact,” he said. The goal of the release, he added, was to get the language of the referendum question asking residents about pursuing the lawsuit changed, something that the board later did.

“There’s nothing more important than the wording of the question, that’s a crucial juncture,” said Robinson. “If that original language had shown up on the ballot, that would be very very bad.”

He added that Colby deserves credit for removing that original language. “She took it out, mission accomplished.”

Colby said she’s looking forward to letting the townspeople have their say on whether or not to pursue the lawsuit, and also urges residents to be civil.

“It’s time to be nice,” she said.