Friday, September 18, 2015

YOU BE THE JUDGE!!!!! – Part 1 ----- Latrry Fillmore

During this year’s School Budget, the Town Council amended the recommendation of the School Department to a much lower figure.  This has caused a great deal of controversy and hard feelings between the school people and the Town Council.  I am going to provide you numerous facts in several articles and let you be the judge as to who caused the problem and was it ethical and done properly.

First, I want to make it very clear as to my position on this matter.  I have stated since the beginning that all budgets have areas that could be cut including the school budget.  I have also stated the method that the Town Council used was not proper.

Now, let’s take a look at the directive to the School Department to cut $600,000.00.    This was the ONLY determining factor because the Town Council di According to Councilor Metivier and Chairman Pesce, the determining factor was that because the school’s budget was twice the amount as the Municipal budget then the School Department should cut twice the amount of the Municipal budget.d not perform any cost analysis or perform an impact study to determine how cutting over a half a million dollars would affect the efficiency of the School Department.  Acts of this nature are not only dangerous but irresponsible and should never be done.  Because of this irresponsibility by the Town Council, the Town has been forced to have three elections counting the next one, at a cost to the taxpayers of approximately $3,000.00 per, and the impact is still unknown.

The residents of Lisbon realized the dangerous situation the Town Council had placed the School Department in and formed a Petition Committee to submit for a Special Town Meeting to correct this injustice.  The Petition Committee submitted the petition on a Wednesday, thinking they could use the LJAL Tournament and the Transfer Station on Saturday to gather the over 600 signatures necessary; however, the Town Clerk did not accept the petition and so the committee had to correct it and did so.  The petition was submitted the same day but the Town Clerk stated it had to be review by the Town Attorney to make sure it was proper.  The Town Attorney did not render a decision until Sunday after LJAL was over and the Transfer Station was closed.  This left the Committee just three days to gather over 600 signatures.  However, the Petition Committee had a legal review stating the petition was in order.  The Town Clerk issued the blank petitions to the committee on Sunday morning to gather signatures.  This Petition Committee pulled off a miracle and gathered over 700 signatures and turned the completed petitions in on time.

This caused a problem for Chairman Pesce and the Town Council; so once again the Town asked the Town Attorney for a legal review.  I fail to understand, if the petition was already ruled proper and only needed signatures to make it sufficient, why a second legal review?  The Town Attorney’s legal review determined the petition insufficient and it died.  The lawyer determined that it was not proper to have Special Town Meeting prior to the people approving the School Budget at an election.  The fact that the Town Council had amended the figures submitted by the School Department and those figures were going to be voted on by the people irrelevant.  This does no pass the common sense test.  Think about it, the Special Town Meeting would be used to resolve the difference in the two figures prior to going for vote by the people.  What possible good does holding a Special Town Meeting after the people have already approved the School Budget by a vote make?  The problem here is that the people followed the Charter and the Town Council and the Town Attorney denied the people the right for a Special Town Meeting to resolve the difference between the School Department and the Town Council prior to the election.  As a result the town has been forced to hold three elections.  This is not the purpose of the Charter and eliminates to people’s voice in the process prior to voting.  It makes the Town Council a dictatorship in this process which is absolutely wrong in a democracy.

Do you call this?

1.     Dirty Politics
2.    Illegal Act
3.    A Dictatorship

Larry Fillmore

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