SHEFFIELD -- Selectman Ted Dobson stepped down from the Board of Selectmen on Monday, citing a lack of time to fulfill the position's responsibilities.
The Board of Selectmen received and announced Dobson's letter of resignation during Monday's meeting. Dobson, who did not attend, was elected in May and his term isn't scheduled to expire until May 30, 2016.
"In my capacity as selectman, I quickly came to realize that the interests of the whole town were paramount and superseded my own predilections," Dobson wrote in the one-page letter.
"Likewise, working with my dedicated fellow selectmen, town officials and employees, I've realized I don't possess the time required to do this job properly, with the commitment that our town deserves."
Dobson, the owner of Equinox Farms, was elected on a platform of opposing the construction of a Dollar General store on 660-680 N. Main St. He defeated incumbent David Smith Jr.
The Board of Selectmen on Monday announced a special election will be held on Feb. 24 to find a replacement. Interested candidates will need to pick up filing papers at Town Hall by Jan. 3, 2014, and then turn in the paperwork by Jan. 7.
In a follow-up interview on Tuesday, Dobson elaborated on his resignation saying the town would be better served by someone with an "overall well-rounded point of view."
While saying he now better appreciates the everyday work done at Town Hall, he said he realized his personal strengths and interests were not aligned with issues in the purview of the Select Board that include employee salaries and bylaw reviews.
"I realized my strengths was not necessarily best served as a selectman," Dobson said.
However, Dobson said his experience as a selectman "activated a sense of duty" and he'll remain engaged as an active citizen.
In the last month, Dobson suffered public backlash after being quoted in the Berkshire Record criticizing the outcome of a Nov. 18 special town meeting vote.
After residents voted against allocating $30,000 to fund a legal appeal against Dollar General, Dobson was quoted as describing the majority vote as a "juvenile decision" and "shocking."
Since making the statement, Dobson has publicly apologized, stating the comment was delivered emotionally following a heated vote. He said the quote was taken out of context, and he merely supports funding the action of public boards who work on behalf of the town.
Despite provoking some anger from residents, Dobson said the public backlash had no impact on his decision to resign.
"I apologized for those offended by the comment," Dobson said.
Moving forward, Dobson said the town is moving "away from the civil war" revolving around Dollar General, and trying to work for the "safest, best-looking Dollar General we can get."
Dobson said he remains "disappointed" the retail store could establish in Sheffield. He described Dollar General as a "bottom-feeding corporate store" and compared it to Walmart taking on Main Street.
He said the store should challenge people to examine alternatives that would "create good solid employment as well as a righteous deal for the consumers."
On Monday, the Board of Selectmen said the town has submitted a list of questions to attorney for Primax Properties, which is building the store. Since the questions were discussed in executive session, they are not available for public review.
After the meeting, Select Board Chair Julie Hannum said Dobson's resignation will not have an impact on the town's legal appeal.
Dobson was praised for his levity and for adding some clarity to discussions. Selectwoman Rene Wood said, "He had a way of bringing his own experience to bear."
In his resignation letter, Dobson said serving as selectman was a "tremendous learning experience" and he expressed his thanks to the town.
"With the utmost respect for my neighbors, fellow citizens and all those who voted for me and supported me, I wish to express my sorrow for ending my tenure as selectman and my gratitude for having had this opportunity to serve."
To reach John Sakata:
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On Twitter: @jsakata