Fate of Oxford Town Manager Who Failed Alcohol Test to Be Determined

Oxford Selectmen would not comment on any decisions or timeline on the fate of the town manager, who failed a surprise alcohol test on a Thursday afternoon last month.

The selectmen met in a hastily-called closed session Tuesday morning to talk about Town Manager Brian Palaia, who has been on paid administrative leave for more than a week.

“I cannot comment,” Oxford Select Board Chairman Dennis Lamarche said after emerging from the 90-minute meeting Tuesday.

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He would not comment on NBC10 Boston’s breaking investigation into Palaia’s drinking, including town documents laying out the selectmen’s concerns he was drinking on the job and driving the town car drunk.

Lamarche also would not outline a timeframe for when any decisions or announcements would be made.

When asked if he thought Oxford residents would want to know what was happening, Lamarche said, “Sure they do and they will know eventually. That’s all I can say.”

The selectmen had a previously scheduled regular meeting Tuesday night. That meeting agenda included a public performance review of the manager. The item has been removed from the agenda.

The NBC10 Boston Investigators obtained executive session minutes from a November meeting that detailed the selectmen’s concerns about Palaia’s drinking. They agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that included provisions for random testing for alcohol and warnings that any violations, or resistance to testing, could result in his termination.

Oxford hired Palaia as town manager in 2015, and renewed his contract last summer. It took effect in February.

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