Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos said he believes a majority of the town’s Board of Selectmen will soon take steps to fire him, based on his opposition to the proposed $1 billion casino and his tendency to lock horns with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
In an interview Saturday, Paicos acknowledged that rumors of his exit are rampant in a community where a selectmen’s election in three weeks will likely determine the casino’s fate.
But until Saturday, he has said he didn’t know there might be a move afoot to remove him.
Paicos said he won’t bend to pressure.
“I understand I’m controversial, but I’m standing up for a town called Foxborough, not Kraftville,’’ he said. “These ongoing conflicts with Kraft and [developer Steve] Wynn and conflicts over the casino are making it impossible for me to succeed in my job.’’
Last December, Paicos decried the casino project in an unorthodox public memo, urging selectmen to reject it for the divisiveness it has caused. The $1 billion casino proposed by Wynn would be built on land owned by Kraft across from Gillette Stadium.
Paicos came under fire late last month for refusing to allow Kraft attorneys to address the Board of Selectmen regarding a long-running dispute over the management of a pair of billboards on Kraft land.
The spat ended up in court, with a federal judge ruling the company had a right to be heard.
Selectmen Chairman Larry Harrington, who wants to hear more information on the casino, and Selectwoman Lorraine Brue, who opposes it, are both up for reelection.
Harrington said the board has not discussed firing the town manager.
“[The Board of Selectmen] does its business in the public setting, and has not discussed firing the Town Manager,’’ Harrington said in an e-mail Saturday. He said that in recent news reports, Paicos was “accusing the board or some board members of putting Kraft interests above the town’s interests,’’ but that these statemens were false and an attempt to influence the upcoming election.
In their evaluation of Paicos last year, selectmen gave the career administrator and military man a mixed review. Another review is due to begin in a few weeks.
Harrington said Paicos’s past review indicated an unexpected lack of basic leadership.
Harrington also said Paicos has been asked to write a memo detailing his actions that led to the recent lawsuit. Paicos said he is still writing the memo, to be delivered on April 24.
“The board wants to know what Kevin knew, when he knew it, and whether the advice was sound,’’ Harrington said. “Kevin will be fine if the advice was sound and based on the facts.’’
A spokesman for the Krafts declined to comment.
Brue said she is unaware of any discussion about releasing Paicos.
“Based on what Kevin has said, though, I am concerned they have been held,’’ she said. “We are going through so much right now, to destabilize the management of the town is the last thing we need.’’
Paicos said he will sue the town and the Krafts if there is an attempt to force him out, not only for violation of contract but also civil rights. “If you are going to take someone’s job away you have to have proof,’’ he said.
As for a new manager, he said the town would have a hard time finding someone else willing to handle the roiling controversy.
“They will be lucky if they get Bozo the Clown,’’ he said. “Certainly no one who will stand up to the Krafts.’’
Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org