Friday, April 22, 2016

COUNCIL WORKING RULES!!!

One of the greatest examples of the abuse of power by the Town Council is the Council Working Rules.  The latest Council Working Rules were designed to prevent citizens (legally referred to as shareholders) from providing valuable input to the Town Council prior to the Council voting on agenda items.  These rules were changed in 2011, to give total control to the Town Council. 

Under the “Good Old Boys” network, these prominent citizens, who have placed their friends and neighbors on the Town Council, to have complete control at all times.  This ensures all decisions meet with their approval.  This procedures also prevents RESIDENTS have providing relevant input to the agenda items.  You see, years ago the agenda item was briefed by the sponsor, Councilors discuss their concerns and then the citizens were provided an opportunity to provide their input prior to the Council voting on the item.  This method is called a democracy and is best described in Maine Revised Status Title 13-C, statute 708, Conducting of Meeting, paragraph 3. Fairness of rules states “Rules adopted for the meeting and the conduct of a meeting held pursuant to this chapter must be fair to shareholders.  The Town of Lisbon is Incorporated and therefore the residents are the shareholders.
   
The current Council Working Rules are not in compliance with this statute.  Now the ONLY time residents can address agenda items is during Audience Participation.  This means residents must speak without the knowledge of why the sponsor is changing the item and before hearing the discussion between Councilors.  In other word, citizens are required to speak without knowing what they are talking about.  These procedures are in direct violation of Maine Statute on “Fairness of Rules”.
The residents should have a direct input into agenda items that are before the Council for consideration.  Direct input is part of the Mission Statement of the town.  How can citizens participate in the decision making process if they are NOT allowed to speak during the discussion on the agenda item? This current Council Working Rule says that the Chairman may allow someone to speak if he wants too.  In other words, citizens have to beg the Chairman for the right to speak on agenda items.  We need to restore democracy back into our local government.

The current system is how the “Good Old Boys” network remains in control at all times. 

Larry Fillmore