Selectmen plan to hold a hearing as soon as later this month on complaints against the harbormaster's actions as well as the tenure of his position.
None of the complaints against Harbormaster Larry Bithell were made public at Wednesday's Board of Selectmen's meeting.
But in November, the chairman of the board said the harbormaster was standing in the way of progress.
"If he continues to obstruct the positive things that different and organizations are trying to do then the selectmen will have a discussion as to what the best course of action should be," Chairman Matt Strauss said.
On Wednesday, Strauss said that he asked the town's law firm to look into the harbormaster's term of employment after he had received complaints about the harbormaster.
Lawyer Darren Klein told board members on Wednesday that Bithell serves at their will.
Klein said he researched town records that show the current harbormaster was appointed to the position on a yearly basis from his first year of employment, 1978, until 1998.
At that point the Town Report started to list his appointment as permanent.
The lawyer said his office could find no minutes or other information that explained how the postion evolved into a permanent post.
After researching enabling legislation and other documents, Klein concluded that the harbormaster serves at the will of selectmen, and as such they could remove him from the post.
Klein said he would inform the harbormaster, in writing, of the complaints against him, as well as the time and place of the hearing.
The lawyer said the harbormaster has said he wants the hearing in open session, not behind closed doors.
Strauss said the harbormaster, like all department heads, should be appointed annually based on performance.
Bithell received $6,764 from the town in 2010, according to the town's list of annual salaries.
Below is a description of the harbormaster's duties, as described on the Massachusetts Harbormasters Association website:
"Harbormasters are municipal guardians of the waterfront, with duties ranging from Harbor Planning & Management, Mooring & Dockage Management, Education of the Public Regarding Safe & Legal Boating, Law Enforcement (of Statutes and Regulations involving the boating community), and Emergency & Search and Rescue operations.