Saturday, September 13, 2014

Letter to Town Livermore on FOAA violations, -------- by D.E. Hines PH.D.

Dwight E. Hines, Ph.D., IndyMedia
42 Israelson Rd.
Livermore, Maine 04253
September 13, 2014

Ms. Carrie Castonguay, Administrative Assistant,
Town of LIvermore
Crash Road
Livermore, Maine 04253

Dear Ms. Castonguay:

Pursuant to Maine statutes and common law, please accept this letter as a legal demand for you to:

1) Place this letter and its attachments in the agenda for the next meeting under Citizens comments or new business or correspondence.

2) Please see that each of the Selectmen receive a hard copy of this letter with its attachments at the next Selectmen’s meeting.

3) Notice that I have requested an opportunity to view the certificate of FOAA course completion by Mr. Newman and that Maine Municipal Association (MMA) sent you a form that was unsigned by Mr. Newman and an appropriate representative from MMA.

4) Please notice that the failure of Mr. Newman to have a completed, signed form that he did complete the course on file in the Livermore Town Office means that Mr. Newman is still not in compliance with Maine Statutes.  The failure to have a completed, signed form also means that Livermore Town responses to public records requests by citizens or others will be meaningless, thus negating the Maine FOAA statutes.

5) Please accept this letter as a formal demand that until completed, signed forms of completion of the FOAA course are on file in the Livermore Town Office, Mr. Newman is not in compliance with Maine Statutes and should not be allowed to vote or participate in Board of Selectmen discussions because he does not meet the minimal requirements for qualifying as a Selectman.

6) Because Mr. Newman participated in numerous Livermore Selectmen votes for more than a year, even though he did not meet the minimal requirements of Maine Statutes, those votes can now be challenged by anyone who did not obtain satisfaction from the Board or by anyone who doubts the legitimacy of the government of the Town of Livermore.

7)  Ms. Castonguay, please accept that the tone and style of this letter, a legal demand letter, are necessary to make the legal demands as unambiguous as possible so there is no doubt in your mind or the minds of the Board of Selectmen of the seriousness of Mr. Newman’s failure to meet the minimal qualifications of the law for being a selectman.

8) Just about two months ago, the Board of Selectmen voted to consider two candidates for the Office of Assistant Administrator in Executive session.  I objected to the Executive session and was ignored.  In Executive session, the Board voted to hire you.  Because votes are not allowed in Executive session, the Board had to meet in public to vote on the candidates again.  After good discussions, the vote was taken and the results were three votes in favor of hiring you.  There was an objection from the Livermore treasurer that she was told by MMA legal that Livermore would be liable for a discrimination cause of action by the candidate who did not win the position.  The selectmen did not see any evidence of discrimination based on any protected categories.  I also could see no grounds for a discrimination complaint.   Unfortunately, because Mr. Newman cast one of the three votes to hire you, and because Mr. Newman was not qualified to vote as a selectman per the discussion above on Mr. Newman’s failure to meet minimal qualifications for the office of Selectman, that vote to hire you can now be challenged.  I will notify the other candidate that her rights to due process, etc., were likely violated by Mr. Newman’s improper votes.

9) Ms. Castonguay, I believe that you acted properly and there are no grounds to make you suffer harms as a result of Mr. Newman not acting according to the law.  So, if there is a successful challenge to your election by anyone, you will be in a good position to require the Town of Livermore to remedy any and all harms you might experience.  I am not an attorney but it seems fair to me that because Mr. Newman was solely responsible for meeting the requirements to be a selectman, the Town of Livermore has solid grounds to recover any costs that are incurred by making your life situation equivalent to what it would have been for your finances and your reputation, if Mr. Newman had simply complied with the laws of Maine.

10) Ms. Castonguay, I told you earlier that I would be unable to attend the next selectmen’s meeting but I will try to rearrange my schedule to be there.  Please note that Mr. Newman stated in the last selectmen’s meeting that Livermore only had to keep minimal minutes, just for votes. Mr. Newman also stated that there were no requirements to have public comments in the Selectmen’s meetings.  I challenge those statements as being in error because the Maine FOAA Statutes may not require public comments or complete minutes to memorialize Livermore’s government history, but Maine Common Laws, Maine practices and procedures, all dating back hundreds of years of uninterrupted democracy, precedes and takes legal precedent over Maine FOAA Statutes that are less than 40 years old, with very little supporting case law compared to Maine Common Law.  In addition, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting free speech also governs suppression of content based speech and our system requires that anyone who wants to block or inhibit content based public speech strictly follow substantive and procedural due process requirements, i.e., the Fith and the Fourteenth Amendments. Mr. Newman also has made statements of error, made in open public meetings that were on the record, that the Maine State laws and the Federal laws do not apply to Selectmen’s meetings in Livermore.

11) Attached is a draft of a petition that I am circulating to some Town Officials and some citizens to get their comments on readability  before I go into the actual obtaining signatures.  Please feel free to copy and distribute as many as you like because the more comments the better the petition will be when in final draft.  As you likely know, once the petition process starts there is a limited amount of time to complete it.  I plan to obtain comments and suggestions until the first week in October of 2014, then prepare and make final copies for distribution the second week in October;   The Board did approve my collecting signatures on election day at Town Hall, as long as I did not block traffic. I will not block or impede or retard voter traffic and I will coordinate with Registrar Guild, who will be collecting comments at the same time and place, to be sure there are no traffic jams or even partial impairments of voter flow.

12)  Because of the importance of these fundamental issues for the actual legitimacy, fairness, and integrity of the Livermore Town government, as well as how the citizens perceive the legitimacy, fairness, and integrity of the Livermore Town government, I will followup all emails on these issues with a hard copy letter addressed to you and delivered to the Livermore Town Office within a day or two of the email.

When you respond or reply to this email, please index your responses to the corresponding numbered paragraph in this letter.

Dwight Hines