Thursday, August 6, 2015


The question is do our elected officials have a duty to keep residents informed as to what is going on in their community?   Below is the Maine Revised Statute 401:

§401. Declaration of public policy; rules of construction.

The Legislature finds and declares that public proceedings exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the Legislature that their actions be taken openly and that the records of their actions be open to public inspection and their deliberations be conducted openly. It is further the intent of the Legislature that clandestine meetings, conferences or meetings held on private property without proper notice and ample opportunity for attendance by the public not be used to defeat the purposes of this subchapter. [1975, c. 758,  (RPR).]

This subchapter does not prohibit communications outside of public proceedings between members of a public body unless those communications are used to defeat the purposes of this subchapter. [2011, c. 320, Pt. B, §1 (NEW).]

This subchapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies as contained in the declaration of legislative intent. [1975, c. 758,  (RPR).]

Under the Maine Revised Statute 405 on Executive Sessions, paragraph 1 state:

1.    Not to defeat purposes of subchapter.  An executive session may not be used to defeat the purposes of this subchapter as stated in section 401.

The Town Council continues to violate Maine Revised Statute 401 and 405.  On July 21, 2015 the Town Council went into Executive Session without identifying what they were discussing; only consulting with Attorney.  Once they came out of Executive Session they never explained to the people what was the problem or situation pertaining to the DEP Consent Agreement or the Revaluation Decision.  The two motions were to approve what was discussed in Executive Session and they voted to accept that motion.  The people have never been informed as to what the situation is or why they need to discuss them in Executive Session.  This is a clear violation of Maine Revised Statute 401 and paragraph 1 of Statute 405.

Now to cover this up, the Revaluation has been posted to the town web site under the Council Agendas and Minutes; Search Minutes 2012 to Present; Town Council Agendas; July 21, 2015 – Regular Town Council Meeting; and finally 2015-211 has been changed from black to blue indicating documents attached.  The DEP Consent Agreement has not been posted as of yet. 

If someone was to look at this agenda it would indicate the supporting documentation (Revaluation Decision) has always been there all along but that is not true.  This is the towns’ way of hiding documents and complying with transparency laws. 

The people have never been informed as to the details of what prompted the Executive Session.  I am not saying the specifics of what take place in Executive Session should be revealed to the people but the people have a right to know what is going on in their community.  It appears that the DEP Consent Agreement is going to cost the taxpayers over $17,000.00 tax dollars for the town not complying with the original agreement.  The people have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent.

These violations of Maine law are not covered under the “Home Rule” law and the state needs to come in and take action to protect the rights of the people.

Larry Fillmore