Bill Stuart is experiencing an unforeseen hurdle in his role as first selectman in Bridgewater.

The town's treasurer, Joseph Caruso, is inundating Town Hall with sheaves of letters and attorneys' opinions on the treasurer's legal role.

The reason? Mr. Caruso believes Mr. Stuart and the Town Hall staff are purposely undermining his position as treasurer, according to his March 2 letter to the Board of Selectmen.

Calls to Mr. Caruso this week were referred to his attorney, Daniel Casagrande.

Mr. Caruso's March 2 letter asserts Mr. Stuart and his staff are attempting to "prevent me from fulfilling my duties" by making "public misstatements about me" and reducing the treasurer's hours to prevent "transparency" in town finances.

Mr. Caruso is not the first Bridgewater treasurer to clash with Mr. Stuart.

Amy Allingham, who resigned from the post in March 2010, took Mr. Stuart to court on slander charges over comments made after she left office. The end result? Mr. Stuart made a public retraction of those comments in September 2010.

"When you're in public office, it comes at you from all directions," Mr. Stuart said Tuesday. "I know who's behind all of this. Mr. Caruso's car is regularly at the Allinghams' law offices.

"Since Mr. Caruso took office he has had problems with his desk, his space, his filing cabinet. ... Everyone has tried to work with him to assist him."

Mr. Stuart said "I told employees to put problems in writing so it wasn't me saying things. Nobody is attempting to undermine Mr. Caruso's authority.

"We looked at correspondence about unpaid bills and a problem with paychecks in our Feb. 21 meeting but took no action on it."

Mr. Caruso brought in a locksmith and state police in January when he found the lock allegedly damaged on a filing cabinet. State police investigated and no charges were brought.

This week, Mr. Caruso had locks changed on filing cabinets and drawers in the finance office and has kept the keys. Financial administrator Kim Baron must wait for him to open files.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322