Sunday, July 26, 2015


Under the provisions of the “Home Rule” the state cannot interfere with the daily operations of a Municipality.  However, even under the “Home Rule” Municipalities cannot violate or ignore Maine law.  The Town Council has violated Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1:  General, Statute 405 Executive sessions.
According to the latest Agenda, July 21, 2015, Agenda Item 2015-218 Order – 1 MRSA Statute 405 (6)(e) Consultations with legal counsel but did not list the appropriate Agenda Items being discussed such as DEP Consent Agreement; Revaluation Decision or Interlocal Agreement for the Code Enforcement and Stormwater Services.  I understand the need to keep from placing the Municipality at a substantial disadvantage.  No one needs to know the specifics of what is said in Executive Session but the Public has a right to know what is going on in regards to these matters in accordance with Maine Statute 401.

Tuesday night, Chairman Pesce requested a motion to move to Executive Session and it was moved and seconded.  At no time did anyone state why they were moving into an Executive Session except to consult with the attorney.  After approximately 45 minutes, the Council returned and continued on with the meeting.  No Councilor made any motions nor was there a vote taken.  Everyone thought they would tell the people what was going on when it came to the three Agenda Items.
When Agenda Item 2015-210 DEP Consent Agreement and 2015-211 Revaluation Decision came up there was a motion to accept as stated in Executive Session and it was seconded.  Both were approved by a vote of 6-0.  At no time were the people told what is going on or provided a summary of what just took place.  Under Maine Statute the people have a right to know what is going on but they do not have a right to know the specifics of what was said in Executive Session.  The third Agenda Item was tabled.
Maine Statute 405 outlines the procedures to be followed pertaining to Executive Sessions.  This statute was not followed and the people were denied the right to know what is going on with the DEP Consent Agreement and the Revaluation Decision.  

Where is the transparency when the people are denied the right to know what is going on and how their tax dollars are being spent?
Now we are going to look at the Council Working Rules, written by the Council, for the manner in which meeting are supposed to be conducted.   Paragraph d(2) Meeting Length states “All council meetings, workshops, or executive sessions shall be conducted, except in extraordinary circumstances within 2 ½ hours of the time the meeting is called to order.  At regularly scheduled meetings, this will call for adjournment on or before 9:30 P.M.   The council may, by waiving these rules, agree to extend the time for meetings if it is deemed appropriate.  The meeting on July 21st began at 7:30 P.M and was adjourned at approximately 11:30 P.M. and there was no motion to waive the time restriction; Chairman Pesce totally disregarded this provision and continued the meeting.  It was Chairman Pesce’s responsibility, along with the Town Manager, to create the Agenda to be accomplished within the 2 ½ hours time frame.  This was also ignored.  If you look at the Agenda above, you can tell it was too long and needed to be split.
These continued violations of Maine law and the Council’s own working rules need to be stopped immediately. 
The State needs to review the actions of Chairman Pesce and Town Manager, Diane Barnes to ensure that Maine law is being complied with at all times.

Larry Fillmore

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