Wednesday, October 7, 2015


At last night’s Town Council meeting, a room full of people spoke against consolidating the Lisbon Communication Center with Androscoggin County Dispatch.  The original question was whether or not to move forward with this project.  It was not whether or not to drop this project?

I listened to everyone speak and was totally amazed as to how very little any of them knew what they were talking about.  It was apparent they were taking there directions from Chief Brooks.  This included former Councilors Bowie, LaRochelle and Ward, all whom protected Chief Brooks and this program for years at the cost of the taxpayers.

The first comment, I heard was “if it’s not broke why are we trying to fix it”.   There are three key advantages to consolidating dispatch and they are:

1.      Increasing the response time of First Responders.
2.      Increasing survival of our residents.
3.      Eliminating an unnecessary cost to taxpayers.

There are more reasons but these are the key ones that should be important to everyone.

Another comment was that three other municipals chose Lisbon Communication Center over L/A 911 or Androscoggin County Dispatch because they did not trust the other dispatches.  This is simply not true.  The reason they chose Lisbon Communication Center for dispatching is because Chief Brooks “Low Balled” them.  Chief Brooks offered them a rate far below the rate of L/A 911 or Androscoggin County Dispatch.  This is easy to verify by looking at the current rate they are paying to Lisbon.  Chief Brooks did this to get leverage for this very situation knowing the taxpayers of Lisbon are already footing the bill.  If Chief Brooks is allowed to renegotiate these contracts, he will lock the town in such a monnor that the town will never be able to consolidate the communication center.

It was brought out that the project could not use “dark Fiber” for connectivity.  This is a true statement because it is new technology and not available yet in this area.  Stop and think how Androscoggin County Dispatch is currently connected to the Lisbon Communication Center now.  How is Androscoggin County Dispatch relaying 911 calls to the town?  It is working well now, so what will change? 

Androscoggin County Dispatch is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the county as established by the state.  What does this mean to you?  It means that all 911 calls are received first by Androscoggin County Dispatch and then relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center. Consolidating the two communication centers is NOT a reflection on the quality of work or personnel in the Lisbon Communication Center but a means to streamline the process in order to provide faster response times in emergency situations.  Consolidation means, when a 911 call is received by the Androscoggin County Dispatch they can immediately dispatch Police, Fire and/or medical First Responders instead of relaying the information to Lisbon Communication Center.

Another comment was about Androscoggin County Dispatch being unfamiliar with Lisbon.  It does not have to be because OUR Police, Fire and Medical are going to be the ones responding and trust me they know the area.  This is another myth started by Chief Brooks to intimidate the residents.  Chief Brooks does not want to lose any part of his empire even through it is in the best interest of the community.

Chairman Pesce has stated he is not letting the loud special interest groups take over and yet Chairman Pesce and the Council killed this valuable project instead of just slowing it down.  The Town Council buckled to Chief Brooks and his special interest group.  It is the responsibility of the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to provide dispatching to the county.  Let’s make them do it.  I think you call that accountability.  The Town of Lisbon pays more than a half million dollars in taxes to the county.

Larry Fillmore

"The Powers That Be In Lisbon" Quashed Any Tax Reduction For Next Year.

Last night's Town Council Meeting brought out the true "powers that be" in Lisbon. There was a successful concerted effort  to quash the Council's money saving proposal to eliminate Lisbon's dispatching center and go with Androscoggin County Dispatch.

Public Safety Officers came forward  one at a time to spout the same three or four talking points. This routine was broken occasionally by a smattering of civilians that would face business loss if the dispatching went to the County.  It was blatantly obvious that this assault on the Council came from a single source.  Some of the speakers even mentioned they got a call about the possible dispatch closure.

It appeared Chief Brooks was behind this charade.  A couple of the speakers even made reference to the Chief and stopped their speech to asked the Chief questions. When Chief Brooks spoke his disdain for closing the dispatch center bordered on insubordination.  He openly argued against what his superiors were proposing and basically told everyone why they were wrong and he was right.

The following fallacious talking points were hammered time after time again in an effort to miss lead the Council and public into thinking the points were valid.

  • The officers tried to make the case that the 9 11 system was irrelevant. They tried to argue "most people call the non- emergency number when they need emergency help".This is pure nonsense, why would anyone call a non-emergency number when they can just dial the 3 digits that are synonymous with an emergency? Those that made this argument were trying to cover up the FACT that when there is an emergency call it is NOW answered by Androscoggin dispatch and has to go through an additional time consuming step to get back to Lisbon Dispatching before it goes out to our Police Officers. 

  • Another officer threatened the public with no emergency service if we went with the County's  high speed Internet and the Internet service went down.  This is ridiculous the County has backups in place for just such an occasion.  This was scare mongering plain and simple.

  • Some brought up the groups third and possibly most insidious argument that we cant trust Androscoggin Commissioners.  The argument goes like this. "Because we are suing the Commissioners on an unrelated matter they are somehow untrustworthy and cant be trusted to carry out any contract."  We lost three lawsuits that I know of in the last few years. Two to Larry Fillmore and one to the low bidder on the gym, does that mean WE can't be trusted anymore?

  • Another person, affiliated with Lisbon Public Safety, actually argued that because Lisbon Police and Dispatching are so effective, criminals bypass Lisbon and only ply their trade in neighboring communities.   When I heard this the first thing that came to my mind was "Why did it take an outside police agency to discover the drug ring operating on 196 a couple years ago?"  I guess those criminals didn't get the message about bypassing Lisbon.

No one mentioned one of the main reasons for reducing taxes in Lisbon and that is the added business and real estate gains we would see if our taxes were lowered. I am surprised our economic development director didn't bring up these points.  I guess she was also bullied into silence.

It is a shame Lisbon was forced into dropping a plan that would, in Chief Brooks estimate, reduce next years taxes by around $60 dollars.  If the plans opponents recognize this large a savings you can be assured the actual savings would have be much more. Its also a shame that our Council and Town Manager have to play second fiddle to the real power in Lisbon.

If we are going to get any tax reduction next year it won't  be coming from the Public Safety Department.  We will probably see another battle between the Council and School Department over the reduced pot of available tax dollars.

Remember the loud voices against dispatch consolidation are coming from those with  financial interests in keeping the status quo. not from the taxpayers.

Joe Hill

WILL DISTRICT 2 BE DUPED???? by Larry Fillmore


The major question of the year is whether or not the residents of District 2 will be conned into reelecting Dillon Pesce to another term on the Town Council.  Dillon Pesce has spent a great deal of effort portraying himself as champion of the people.  However, he has graduated to become a very effect politician providing only half truths to the people.  I attend almost every workshop, Public Hearing and Council Meeting I can and have seen Mr. Pesce in action.  Below is a listing of the “other side”:

1.      The first is his statement:  :…I have been committed to being an instrumental voice of ALL members of our community and not letting the loud special interest groups take over.
Mr. Pecse has never implemented anything the people have brought out.  He listens, because the law mandates he do so, but he has not implemented the desires of the people.  As far as the loud special interest group, this group is made up of voters, parents and concerned citizens and they have gotten loud because their concerns land on deaf ears.  Mr. Pesce has his own agenda and sticks to it.

2.      As far as transparency goes, Chairman Pesce establishes the Council Agenda and sees what subjects are conducted in Executive Sessions.  Lately, town own property is sold behind closed doors after the town received bids for the property.  Also, discussion of retirement incentives are also discussed behind closed doors and you call this transparency.

3.      Now let’s look at accountability, there have been several incidents in the Public Works and sewer areas and no one has been held accountable for anything.  So much for accountability.

4.     This is probably my favorite of all.  Chairman Pesce demanded the School Department cut $600,000 from its budget sole on the fact the school budget is twice the size of the Municipal Budget.  Councilor Pesce had no idea what kind of impact a cut of this nature would have on the operations of our school system and apparently did not care.  As Referendums come and go the vote was always the same “NO TOO LOW”.  So what did Chairman Pesce do, remember he said he was an instrumental voice of ALL members of our community, he lower the school budget even lower the next time.  After, that one did not pass; Mr. Pesce orders taxes to be committed because the town could not pay their bills.  This was because our legal costs are way over budget because of Mr. Pesce seeking so many legal reviews.  The Undesignated Fund is too low to support our bills because of excess spending by the Town Council.  Making major cutting without knowing the impact is totally irresponsible.

5.      Chairman Pesce does not allow any citizen to speak at Council meetings without putting time limits on them.  Thanks to Chairman Pesce, here are no dialogues during a council meeting.  Mr. Pesce censors the voice of the people and responds by avoiding the questions with double-talk.
There are plenty of citizens who can verify how Chairman Pesce speaks to them during meetings. 

6.      The people submitted a petition for a Special Town meeting.  The Town Clerk provided the blank petitions to gather signatures, after a legal review.  Then when the people turned in over 700 signatures, which was approximately 100 over the requirement, the petition was denied after a second review.  Denying the people and citizens a Special Town meeting to resolve the difference in figures from the School Department and the Town Council is just plain wrong.  I thought this was the purpose of the Charter procedure.

I thought residents of District 2 need to know what is happening and how Mr. Dillon Pesce contributes to the problem.

Also, look at Charter Change Number 1 to change the two term limit on the Chair position of the Town Council.  Mr. Pesce wants to change this to unlimited terms for the Chairman of the Town Council. 

I wonder whom that is for.



This is a summary of what took place last night’s Town Council meeting.  It was very bizarre to say the least.  The chambers were filled to capacity.  The majority of the audience was there to speak in opposition to the Consolidation of the Lisbon Communication Center with the Androscoggin County Dispatch.  This is a summary of what took place:

Under Council Orders, Resolutions & Ordinances –

1.      Dispatch Consolidation – This discussion lasted over an hour and resulted in the Council voting 7-0 NOT to move forward with this consolidation.
2.     Contract for PSAP Services – The Council voted 7-0 to have the Town Manager sign this contract.
3.     Municipal Agent/Inland Fisheries Agent – The Council approved Pauline Pelletier to fill this position with a $1.00 per hour increase in pay until she completes all of her training and then $1.50 per hour increase.
4.     Request to Bid Winter Sand – The Council approved to give the Public Works Director to go out to bid by a vote of 7-0.
5.     Request to advertise Surplus Property – The Council approved the Public Works Director to try and sell two pieces of surplus equipment by a vote of 7-0.
6.     Award Roof Bid – There were many questions that The Council had that could not be answered so the Council tabled this for another time.
7.     Amendment to Energy Performance Contract – The Council approved for the Town Manager to sign the amendment to the contract by a vote of 7-0.
8.     Fuel Bid – The Council approved for the Town Manager to sign a contract for fuel.  There was some discussion about Diesel and Off Road Diesel.  The vote was 7-0.
9.     School Budget Validation Referendum (BVR) Timeline – The Council approved the timeline with a Public Hearing on October 20, 2015 by a vote of 7-0.
10.            Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust (MMEHT) Wellness Grant Application – The Council approved to proceed with the application by a vote of 7-0.  Amount not to exceed $410.00
11.            Street Light Request – The Council approved to put a Street Light at the end of Wing Street and Main Street for an increase of $15.00 per month by a vote of 7-0.

Under Appointments – Mr. David Mailhot was appointed to the Cemetery Committee Member and the Council accepted Jessica Meakin’s resignation from the Library Governing Board.

Candidate’s night will be October 20, 2015 prior to the Public Hearing.

There was no vote after the Executive Session.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Ever wonder what goes on in Executive Sessions and is it legal?  I personally do not believe it is legal in accordance with Maine Statute 405 (6) (C).  So let’s take a look at the statue.  Below is the statute:

            C. Discussion or consideration of the condition, acquisition or the use of real or personal property permanently attached to real property or interests therein or disposition of publicly held property or economic development ONLY if premature disclosures of the information would prejudice the competitive or bargaining position of the body or agency; [1987, c. 477, §3 (AMD).]

As you can see it is very specific as to when you can hide behind this part of the statute.  Chairman Pesce and the Town Council agreed to have town owned property go out for bid in order to sell the property.  This is the same procedure utilized to procure a truck, fuel and winter sands.  Bidders submit sealed bids by a certain date and then the town opens the bids and recommend to the Town Council which bid to accept.  The Town Council then votes on which bid to accept without ever meeting the bidders.

Now let’s take a look at what took place in Executive Session on September 15, 2015.  This is straight from the minutes of the meeting for September 15, 2015.

                                                            EXECUTIVE SESSION

VOTE (2015-284 & 285) Councilor Bickford, seconded by Councilor Metivier moved to go into Executive Session per 1 MRSA Section 405 (6) (C) Acquisition or disposition of real property or economic development, and 405 (6) (E) Consultations with legal counsel.  Order passed – Vote 7-0.

Councilor Pesce announced that a vote could possibly follow.  Councilor Metivier, seconded by Councilor Bickford moved to return to regular session at 9:26 PM.  Order passed 7-0.  The Chairman resumed the meeting at 9:30 PM.

VOTE (2015 -285A) Councilor Pesce, seconded by Councilor Garrison moved to convey property at 3 Village Street to Lisbon Holding, LLC under terms to be negotiated by the Town Manager and Town Attorney and to authorize the Town Manager to execute all documents necessary to complete the transaction.

Order passed – Vote 6-1 (Opposed:  Lunt) Councilor Brunelle indicated Councilor Lunt wanted more information that he is just not going to get.

VOTE (2015-285B) Councilor Pesce, seconded by Councilor Bickford moved that the Town sell property on Ridge Road, Tax Map R05, Lot 1C, to Dale John Crafts for the Town’s asking price of $82,900 and to authorize the Town Manager to execute all documents necessary to complete the transaction.  Order passed – Vote 6-0-1. (Abstained:  Crafts)

VOTE (2015-285C) Councilor Pesce, seconded by Councilor Bickford moved that the Town offer a retirement incentive to employees with at least 35 years of continues service to the town as of September 1, 2015 that would all employees who select to participate to receive a monthly payment of $833 toward the cost of health insurance for a period of three (3) years following their separation of employment.  Order passed – Vote 7-0.

As you can see, the property at 3 Village Street and Ridge Road were sold.  If this was a result of bids received by the Town; why are these transactions in Executive Session because the bid process is the same for a truck, fuel and winter sands.  All of these items are decided at an “open” Town Council meeting.  Why were these two properties being decided in Executive Session?  Could it be the Town Council is conducting business behind closed doors illegally?

Also, it is nice to see the Town Council being so free with our tax money.  If we had to commit taxes this year because the town was low on funds and could not pay the town’s bills; where is all this money coming from.  It certainly cannot be the Undesignated Fund because that too is below the recommended level.

Isn’t it nice to know what the Town Council does behind closed doors?

Just Filling In.....

Wasted Dollars by Larry Fillmore


During last Tuesday’s Town Council Workshop, the second agenda item was a Police Officer Vacancy Discussion.  The Town Manager started off the discussion by explaining that there is a vacancy in the Patrol Division and requested that the town receive permission to fill this position.  According to Chief Brooks’, the town tried to fill this position but the candidate did not accept the offer.  The Council gave permission to start the process again, without a vote being taken.

After the workshop was completed, Chairman Pesce opened the workshop for the audience to make comments.  I asked Chairman Pesce if the Police Department had eliminated the “Unobligated Time”, identified in the Police Study.  Chairman Pesce did not answer the question but provided double-talk about what our officers are currently doing. 

The Town Council paid to have an independent study performed by subject matter experts (SME) from The Tideview Group.  This cost approximately $6,000.00 of taxpayers’ money.  These subject matter experts completed the study and provided their findings to the Town Council.  In their study, The Tideview Group provided 10 recommendations to improving the cost effectiveness and to provide manpower recommendations on our Police Department.  Below are two of the recommendations from page 27 of the Police Study:

          .  That the use of unobligated time be reviewed to insure that this time is being spent in a proactive manner.

          . That current staffing levels of officers in the Patrol Division be maintained and reevaluated after unobligated time is being used to maximum potential.

 Since the taxpayers paid for this study and The Tideview Group provided recommendations to the town; it is only right that the taxpayers be kept informed as the progress the Police Department is making to accomplish the recommendations provided.  It makes no sense to pay for a study and then not utilize the study to improve the efficiency of our Police Department.  Chairman Pesce did not provide an answer to the question of “is the unobligated time being used to maximum potential”. 

This issue of unobligated time needs to be resolved prior to spending any more tax dollars on a Patrol Officer.  If the Town Council, though the Town Manager, is not going to monitor the progress of  resolving these recommendations; then the study is useless and the town wasted $6,000.00.

Chairman Pesce should not be so short with the residents of this community and should answer their questions instead of giving then double-talk.

Larry Fillmore