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Bangor sports director resigns in tiff over his smoking

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BANGOR — Richard Debyah resigned as the sports director of the Bangor Community Center after his refusal to stop smoking near a girls softball game upset some parents.

“After speaking to my mother tonight, as of Aug. 1, I resign as sports director. I have been planning to do this since June 1. As of Aug. 1, I am done. Get some other poor soul to do this job,” Mr. Debyah told members of the Bangor Town Council on Tuesday night.

His mother, Sharon, is the director of the community center.

Mr. Debyah incurred the wrath of several parents when he refused to stop smoking near the ballfield during a Women of the Moose girls softball league game June 19, despite being instructed to do so by the umpire. Parents said they were shocked by what they described as the lack of sportsmanlike conduct displayed by Mr. Debyah.

According to the Women of the Moose Softball Rules-Division 3, “No tobacco products or alcohol is to be used or consumed by players or spectators on or near the field of play.”

Bangor Councilman Barry White said he wanted to hear the whole story about what happened from Mr. Debyah, because, Mr. White said, “When people come here, they should be treated with respect.”

Councilman Joey St. Mary said the board would talk to Mr. Debyah after the meeting, at which point Mr. Debyah announced his decision to resign.

Mr. Debyah said he has tried repeatedly to help the town board but has been treated poorly.

Mr. St. Mary objected to his comments.

“This is how I feel; you don’t have to wait until Aug. 1. ... You are done today,” Mr. St. Mary told Mr. Debyah. “You are not allowed on the committee; you are no longer allowed to be on the sports committee whatsoever. You will have nothing to do with the sports program.”

Mr. St. Mary said that despite Mr. Debyah’s resignation as sports director, he still has responsibilities at the community center.

“You will continue to do your job here,” he said. “You will mow lawns and help your mother. I have the utmost respect for that lady. You are going to continue to do your job and if you don’t like that, it can be replaced too. Get it together. You will help your mother and do as you are told.”

Mr. St. Mary made a motion to abolish the sports committee and appoint one or two sports directors to run the program. He said the directors will meet with the town board and come to the board meetings to give updates on what is going on with youth sports.

Members of the committee had not been providing the board information on the status of the town’s sports programs.

The board approved this motion unanimously.

The board also decided to put up “no smoking, tobacco and alcohol” signs on the community center grounds.

The only place spectators will be able to smoke is on the blacktop parking lot at the center, and they must be away from the building. The plan is to place a number of signs around the property. Smoking, tobacco products and alcohol will be prohibited everywhere else on the grounds.

Anyone caught smoking outside the designated area will be asked to go to the parking lot. If they refuse, they will be asked to leave the property.

“It should work. If it does not, then we will have to enforce it and make a fine,” Town Supervisor Gary Monica said.

“We want things to go as smooth as possible,” Mr. Monica said. “We are not trying to drive people away. We are trying to invite people here.”

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