South Thomaston residents will have to fill two vacancies on the town’s Board of Selectmen next month following the resignation Feb. 16 of Dorothy Meriwether.

Meriwether said she resigned because the board has lost the trust and respect needed to consider different sides to questions.

“I felt our Board of Selectmen had somehow lost that requisite trust and respect and was no longer functioning cohesively as the leadership for our town,” Meriwether said in a letter she said she wanted to include in the town’s next newsletter. “To apply the brakes to a downward spiral, one of us needed to step down, to allow necessary regrouping, and to re-establish the board’s obligation to serve our community.”

She said she did not want to go into specifics but deep philosophical disagreements had developed during some recent decisions.

Board member Jeffrey Northgraves said he did not know what the differences were.

“I don’t have a clue as to what deep philosophical differences there are,” Northgraves said. “I’m at a loss to understand.”

He said the board was “on the same page” when it came to developing a budget to present to residents at the Tuesday, March 30 town meeting. The budget and a proposed comprehensive plan are the two main items on that town meeting warrant.

Northgraves said the board decided not to include any raises for employees this year and to reduce the hours at both the town office and stump dump to deal with reduced state revenues. The town office will be closed on Fridays under the proposed budget. The office is now open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. The stump dump is open three days a week from spring through fall and two days a week during the winter. That will be reduced to two days a week throughout the year under the proposed budget.

South Thomaston has a three-member Board of Selectmen.

Meriwether was elected in March 2009 to a three-year term. The other board members are Northgraves and Penelope Alley.

Northgraves’ seat is up for election at the March 30 town meeting. He was the only person to file nomination papers so that he can be considered at the meeting where a floor vote will be held to fill the post.

The board met Feb. 18 and agreed to make nomination papers available for Meriwether’s vacant seat on Feb. 23. The deadline for papers to be filed is Tuesday, March 16 at the town office. Voting will be at the March 30 town meeting that will be held at the Gilford Butler School at 7 p.m.

The full text of Meriwether’s letter follows:

“I was deeply honored when the town elected me selectman last March. I had hoped that we, as a board, could energize and engage more people in a dialogue and bring more townspeople to the table to address our town’s direction and concerns.

My experience in serving on boards and committees over the years is that the best boards are the ones where there is an underlying trust and respect. Despite differences in philosophy or conviction, any disparities can be valued as providing a different perspective, not as a basis for dispute. A board that doesn’t always agree can be a stronger board, providing the opportunity to consider different sides to any question. Lacking the necessary trust and respect, however, disagreements can become destructive fights, with each side only hardening in its opinion.

I felt our Board of Selectmen had somehow lost that requisite trust and respect and was no longer functioning cohesively as the leadership for our town. To apply the brakes to a downward spiral, one of us needed to step down, to allow necessary regrouping, and to re-establish the board’s obligation to serve our community.

So, it was with great sadness that I submitted my resignation from the board on February 16. I very sincerely thank the town for trusting me to serve you all, and I am confident that the soul searching arising from this set back will help our community to move forward, stronger than before.”

Northgraves has served on the town board since June 2004.

Alley was not immediately available for comment. She has been on the board since March 1999.