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Showing posts with label Corruption In Maine's Small Towns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corruption In Maine's Small Towns. Show all posts

Thursday, December 17, 2015

GOPDD: Muslim Declares New Islamic Holiday on December 24th – Liberals Demand We All Celebrate

By -

Annual Birthday Celebration of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa at Makka Mosque Culture and Community Centre in Great Lever. 4th January 2015 

History shows us that Islam always builds on what they conquer… and this newest madness from the front line of the ‘invasion’ is evidence. It is so incredibly jaw dropping, that you may feel like you’re in a living nightmare…and, you wouldn’t be wrong. 


Nothing is sacred. Everything non-Islamic must be co-opted, falsified, erased.
Not even Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is off limits.


TO READ MORE: http://gopthedailydose.com/2015/12/15/muslim-declares-new-islamic-holiday-on-december-24th-liberals-demand-we-all-celebrate/

Monday, November 23, 2015

Top 50 Reasons Why PAYT (pay as you throw trash program) is a Bad Idea For Lisbon.


Reason #1   It will cost Lisbon residents more money.

According to the Solid Waste Committee Study Results "PAYT"  will cost Lisbon residents $177,345 dollars more than what they are now spending on our existing solid waste system.

Remember what the Committee is calling $240,928 dollars in revenue is actually money Lisbon Residents will be spending on trash bags.    

Cost of existing system  $378,500 dollars.
Cost of PAYT system    $555,845 dollars.


Respectfully
LisbonMaine.Net
Joe Hill

Saturday, September 19, 2015

CONCERNED CITIZENS ANSWER

We have all been complaining about Lisbon taxes for years. This year our Councilors made real cuts to our budget and those cuts are reflected in this years tax bill. 

The following is MY RESPONSE to "YOU BE THE JUDGE"

  •  I feel its unfair to chastise our Councilors for not knowing the exact amount of fat in the School Budget.  No one knows the exact amount of fat in the School Budget. If we knew where and how much fat there was we probably would have already eliminated the excess.
  • Let me get this straight; It appears you are suggesting we should never cut the School Budget unless we have had an expensive "Cost Analysis" and a more expensive " Impact Study". Isn't that counter productive? We could be spending more on studies than we save in cost reduction.
  •  You are correct it does cost $3,000 dollars for each of the School Budget Votes but it isn't the Council that is rejecting the duly submitted Budget. It is the school's "Special Interest Group" (SIG) that is voting down the budget.The Councilors  already gave their approval of the budget by sending it out to vote.  The SIG'S rejection vote is triggering a new election not the Council's approval vote. It appears the SIG doesn't want to take responsibility for their "NO" vote.
  •   By using the Special Council Meeting clause in this fashion, you are attempting to circumvent the Council's power over the School Budget. This was never the intention of the Charter framers. 
  • I  agree dirty politics have occurred, we saw a good example of it at the last Council/School Board workshop.The workshop where one of the School Board members threw a temper tantrum when he couldn't get his way.   

Recently the Council compromised and gave the School more of what they wanted. It will be interesting to see if it is enough to satisfy Lisbon School's greedy little "Special Interest Group'.

Respectfully

Joe Hill

Saturday, August 8, 2015

WHAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW!!!



Back on October 20th, 2014, an administrative consent agreement was reached between the Town of Lisbon and the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection.  The town agreed to pay a fine of $4,252 and to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) named the “Unnamed Stream (Route 196) Watershed Management Plan”.  The SEP was valued at $17,009.00 dollars.  Please review the attached Amendment to Administrative Consent Agreement dated October 20, 2014. 
This amendment came from the State Department of Environmental Protection because the Town of Lisbon failed to comply with the original agreement.  If you look to find this agreement on the town web site, I hope you have better luck then i did.  Also, this was considered and approved by the Town Council on July 21, 2015 but it was never explained to the community what is going on; so much for transparency and keeping the people informed. 

The bottom line is the Town of Lisbon violated the original approved Administrative Consent Agreement dated October 20, 2014; so now the town is forced to pay the $17,009.00.  Whether this money is coming out of the Sewer Department or the Municipal budget has not been released.  In fact no information on this situation has ever been released by the Town Council or the Town Manager; so much for transparency and keeping the people informed.

I understand that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Patricia W. Aho, has not signed but since they wrote this amendment; I do not understand why she would not sign it.  Also, the Maine Office of the Attorney General, Scott Boak, Assistant Attorney General has not signed this amendment either.  This may not be official yet, but it does not excuse the Town Council and the Town Manager from keeping the people informed.

It is a shame the community violated the terms of the original agreement and now the town has to pay a fine. Someone has to be held accountable.  Instead of hiding this from the people, action should be taken to ensure there are no repeats of situations like this.

Larry Fillmore


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

RECAP TOWN COUNCIL MEETING – JULY 7TH, 2015


This is a summary of the Town Council meeting of July 7th, 2015.  I need to change the format of this recap due to an important message by the Town Council that impacts every citizen.  The following is what took place under Council, Resolutions & Ordinances:


1.      Itinerant Vendor Ordinance & Fee Schedule (Second Reading) – This was approved by a vote of 4-1 with Councilor Garrison voting NO.  Councilors Lunt and Crafts were excused from the meeting.


2.     Lisbon Cemetery Ordinance (Second Reading) – This was approved by a vote of 5-0.


3.     Lisbon Cemetery Committee Ordinance (Second Reading) – This was approved by a vote of 5-0.


4.     RHR Engagement letter for annual audit – This was approved with an amendment that the Town Manager could sign this by a vote of 5-0.


5.     Set date for workshop for Mill Street Dam – This was tentatively set for July 16th pending approval by DEP/Salmon/Water.


6.     Lisbon Falls Fire Company Road Toll – This was approved by a vote of 5-0.


Under Other Business – The Town Manager announced that Officer Ryan McGee has been promoted to Sergeant.  The Finance Director is looking into closing out four (4) bonds that are over ten (10) years old. 


Mr. William Van Tuenin (Lisbon's former Assessor) updated the Town Council on the progress of the Revaluation of the town that was supposed to be completed  (no later than) June 30, 2015.     

According to Mr. Van Tuenin, the residential side is about 90% completed and the commercial side is roughly 35% completed.  What this means to the residents of Lisbon is that the Town Council voted to use last year’s figures in order to prepare this year’s tax commitment.  Mr. Van Tuenin made excuses for the delay and Chairman Pesce did not accept them and asked for the adjusted completion date that Mr. Van Tuenin could not provide.   
This is a true mess that was created in 2011 by Stephen Eldridge who brought Mr. Van Tuenin into the town as an Assessor and then conned the Town Council at the time to approve the bid by Mr. Van Tuenin over other bidders with a better offer.  There is no telling when the revaluation will be completed or even how accurate it will be under the circumstances.  It is my understanding that Mr. Van Tuenin and his company will not receive any more money from the town.


Larry Fillmore

Friday, June 5, 2015

THE PEOPLES' PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS LOST FOREVER!



The Town of Lisbon began to lose our freedom of speech began with former Councilors Lori Pomelow and Michael Bowie.  When these two changed the Council Working Rules prohibiting the people from speaking on agenda items after the sponsor explains the reason for the change.  Asking the people to address agenda items before understanding why they are changing something; is totally ridiculous.  This was the beginning of the end.

The Council placed a non-binding referendum question on a ballot.  The understanding was the Council would comply with the wishes of the people. The people voted over 2,000 to over 500 in favor of voting on the Municipal budget.  To this date, the people cannot vote on the Municipal budget.

In accordance with the law, the Town Council provides Public Hearings on various items to include the School and Municipal budgets.  The residents show up and voice their opinions and the Town Council totally ignores them and does whatever they want.   

In the past three years, the people have had issues with these budgets and every time they are ignored.  The law requires the Council to hold Public Hearings for the purpose of allowing the people to speak but nowhere in the law does it say the Council has to comply with the wishes of the people.

During Audience Participation of every Town Council meeting, residents express their opinions on agenda and non-agenda items.  But once again, they are totally ignored by the Council.





The Town Council says that the Charter is there for the people to utilize when they have an issue such as the Council changing the bottom line of the School Department budget.  However, as demonstrated recently no matter what the peoples’ wishes are, the Council will find a way to harass or punish the people for challenging the Council’s authority.  718 signatures were gathered in less than 48 hours is a clear indication of the desires of the people and yet this action was thrown out on a play on words. 

It is very apparent that the voice of the people is a waste of time because the Town Council does what it wants at any cost.  We are at the mercy of the Town Council and the only relief is to vote them out in November and hope and pray to get a new set of Councilors that will listen to the people.

Larry Fillmore

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dastardly Actions At Lisbon's Town Office Are Heading To Another Day In Court


Will Lisbon Taxpayers Be Forced To pay both sides of This Law Suit?


On May 30th the following people,


Kasie Kolbe -- Dean Willey--- Marcey Crosskill--- Nicole Sautter
Norman Albert ---Angela Shambarger--- James Harriman ---Michelle Houston and Lorrie Potvin

 formed a "Petitioners Committee" and started to collect petition signatures to hold a "Special Town Meeting" in an attempt to override the Town Council's reduction in the proposed school budget . The Committee collected  and submitted over 700 signatures to the Town Clerk.
(Click on the above to enlarge)




On June 3rd the petition was certified as being "insufficient" (rejected) for the following reasons:

*** Because it was not filed within the 15 days period following the legal adoption of the  budget. 

***And because a Special Town Meeting to reconsider a school budget approved by the Council and voters would not be consistent with the Statutory and Charter requirements for adoption of school budgets. 

It has been rumored that the Committee's  next step is to sue the Town using School Department money to pay for the legal representation.  I hope this isn't true.  If School Department money is used to sue the Town  we will have a situation in which the Residents of Lisbon will be paying money to sue themselves. 

I feel the above named committee has every right in the world to sue the town  if they are paying the bill. But Lisbon Residents shouldn't be required to pay for both sides of  the lawsuit.

Respectfully
Joe Hill
lisbonmaine.net

DISCLAIMER
The Lisbon Reporter posts informational articles submitted to the Editor. These are the opinions of citizens. The purpose of the Lisbon Reporter is to keep the citizens of Lisbon informed as to what is happening in Lisbon, Maine.


Friday, April 24, 2015

It Appears To Be Time For The DOJ, Governor LePage, et al To "Get Off The Couch" Lift The Rug, Sweep the Floor AND TAKE THE TRASH OUT!

Biddeford (ME) City Council April 21, 2015 – Public Addressing the Council (Sexual Allegations Against Biddeford Police Officers)

View council meeting HERE. (starts at 13:40)
Silence can only be equated with fraud when there is a legal or moral duty to speak, or when an inquiry left unanswered would be intentionally misleading. ” U.S. v. Tweel, 550 F2d 297, 299-300
Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE §608. Official oppression
1. A person is guilty of official oppression if, being a public servant and acting with the intention to benefit himself or another or to harm another, he knowingly commits an unauthorized act which purports to be an act of his office, or knowingly refrains from performing a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
18 USC § 4 – MISPRISION OF FELONY
Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
Office of the Maine Attorney General Brian MacMaster, Chief of Investigations
“Brian MacMaster, the Director of Investigations since 1984. Mr. MacMaster has served as the Attorney General’s designee on the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy since 1993 and has served as Chair of the Board since 1997.”
If people have filed complaints with the A.G.’s Office. Chief Investigator Brian MacMaster brushes complaints under the rug. In the past, if you filed a complaint against a police officer with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy because MasMaster failed in his duties, MacMaster was Chairman of the Board!
Related: Biddeford (ME) Police Department Exposed! Click here.
  https://unmasker4maine.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/biddeford-me-city-council-april-21-2015-public-addressing-the-council-sexual-allegations-against-biddeford-police-officers/

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Will Things Pop Out From "under the covers" In Lisbon, As Has Just Occurred In Biddeford

Biddeford (ME) Police Department Exposed!

News of sexual allegations against two former Biddeford police officers, first reported by Benjamin Meiklejohn of the Courier, ” is taking the city by storm.” David Charns, WMTW news reporter, broke the news about the allegations on television to a larger audience just days after the Courier reported the same. With the media so controlled it’s a breath of fresh air that Ben and David have the courage to report on what needed reporting years ago.
On March 5, 2015 the Courier reported ” A man who grew up in Biddeford has turned to social media to begin a dialogue with city leaders about how to prevent child sexual abuse and provide resources to victims. Matt Lauzon, who now lives in Boston but grew up in Biddeford, said he was sexually abused by a former Biddeford police officer nearly two decades ago, but felt too afraid and ashamed of his experience to speak out about it to authorities.
Lauzon, who graduated from Biddeford High School in 2003, has filed a complaint with the Maine attorney general and requested an investigation into an officer who is now retired and living in Florida. Lauzon said he first approached the Biddeford Police Department about the alleged crime last fall.
In recent weeks, Lauzon started to publicly engage Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Mayor Alan Casavant on Facebook about how the community can prevent child abuse and support victims – while articulating details of an experience that left him struggling his whole adult life.
“I feel guilt and shame that I didn’t speak up sooner and that he’s never been convicted and now lives free and clear in Florida,” Lauzon posted, “and now that numerous people are telling me similar stories, I have nightmares about staying silent and letting this abuse happen to other young women and men, or letting silence lead to young women or men taking their own lives.”
 Read more here:http://courier.mainelymediallc.com/news/2015-03-05/Front_Page/Man_recalls_abuse_by_officer.html

 Lisbon's Chief of Police David T. Brooks' partner in cleaning up Law Enforcement Corruption, none other that Brian Macmaster was/is directly involved in this disgusting mess.

Brian MacMaster, who was chairman of the academy, accepted Dodd’s surrender on July 8 that year. MacMaster was also director of investigations for the Maine Attorney General, responsible for overseeing the 2002 investigation of Dodd. MacMaster has been the director of investigations since 1984.
Remember Lisbon Citizens how he botched the investigation into the missing $32,500 from the Economic and Development Office.  They had plenty of time to concoct  a winning presentation for the people to buy into.

Wonder how many players they might have been recruiting for some unscrupulous politicians. I.E. Wilderness trips to some Northern Maine Private camps?   Don't act like it doesn't happen, Martins of fact it does.

High Time for  LePage to get off the couch and clean house in the Attorney General's Office.  And restore some resemblance of Nobility and Honor to the positions within.

 
The Thin Blue Line of Police Corruption is slowly getting resurfaced.
God Bless the courageous victims and may those guilty rot slowly in HELL!

United We Stand, Divided We Fall!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

At The Least, One Maine Community Has Come To Their Senses! BDN: Rockland returning foreclosed homes


ROCKLAND, Maine — City councilors took quick action Monday night in an effort to return four properties that had been seized for nonpayment of taxes or sewer fees.
The council gave unanimous preliminary approval to returning the properties. A final vote is scheduled for next month.
Last month, the city acquired three homes for nonpayment of property taxes and additional homes were taken for failure to pay sewer fees. The foreclosures are automatic under state law unless a municipal body votes to waive foreclosures.
The city initially foreclosed on the properties to protect the municipality’s ability to collect the taxes or fees that are owed on the properties. City Manager James Chaousis said that if the city had not foreclosed on the properties it would have lost its right to collect those taxes or fees. The manager said if the city began waiving taxes, other property owners might follow suit.

Continue reading here: 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lisbon’s Financial Fiasco Follies





 Chief David T. Brooks


By Peter Reuter, Special to The Lisbon Reporter

Once again the time has arrived when we find ourselves in  undoubtedly the most reverent of seasons, Budget Season.  Every taxpayer already has a license to pursue the prey of choice, ie. Municipal department.  Taxes are levied on the people’s property, personal & estate, which afford the community to carry on with normal business as usual actions.  



But what happens when no one is ‘minding the fort’ and looking out for the best interests of the community, its people?  When the past management establishment elected and hired to do so were inflicted with a very contagious social and economical disease called GREED.  You get exactly what Lisbon is experiencing right now.   

Monies from the Federal and State levels have all but disappeared that were flowing into each municipality like spring thaw after a hearty winter of snow.  Those dollars, in most cases, were desperately counted on to balance the often over budgeted municipal balance sheets.  Now towns are struggling to manage with the same services they were afforded in past years. Change must occur to correct the deficit created by not making sound economic choices.



Through lack of financial fortitude Lisbon has had to dip into the Undesignated Fund account to make up the difference for a multiple of past years. Leaving it depleted to less than a favorable level.  Lately departments have had to make significant cuts to their operational budgets and employee rosters in order to keep the financial responsibility in somewhat of an order.  For that, infrastructural suffrage have occurred.  Roads, bridges, equipment and other items have not be improved or expanded as needed.



When you look hard into the Municipal Budget of Lisbon at all the departments that have had to make cuts, one department stands out like a black and blue eye where no cuts have been made.  In fact it has been increased each and every year.  But in order to ascertain that fact you just about need to have a PHD in forensic auditing. All because the TRUE and ACCURATE accounting of the POLICE DEPARTMENT has been spread out and hidden, on purpose to confuse the people.  This has permeated and promulgated the budget each year with significant protection of your duly elected officials.



It is REFRESHING to hear that the new Town Manager has recognized this and is in the process of correcting.  Once the taxpayers learn of the TRUE EXPENSE of the Police Department, then perhaps we all can hope for a change.  Maybe Lisbon could be a more affordable community for the retired residents and appeal to people to move in to make it their home.

Lisbon Town Manager, Mrs. Diane Barnes has made significant progress in the administration process and expenditures side of things. Namely digressing from one of the 'Good Ole Boys Club' members, the previous Town Attorney.  With the challenges that she is facing we all need to lend her support at meetings or whenever we see her.  Her intentions are honorable and admirable. Something Lisbon has been lacking in recent years.



The residents have spoken loud and clear when presented with the opportunity to improve things.  A couple of examples would be the vote on the addition to the High School Gymnasium, Track, and not purchasing Worumbo Mill. And let us not forget the opportunity to vote on the School Budget each year.



Isn’t it about time we have more of say on the Municipal side of the Budget?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some good research articles on Local and State Government‏

We often forget that others are having problems similar to ours and are working hard to find best solutions.  Keep up the good work you're doing, Mr. Fillmore.  

Dwight

1) The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending




2) 
GOVERNMENT BUDGETS AS THE HUNGER GAMES:
​ ​
THE BRUTAL COMPETITION FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES GIVEN MUNICIPAL SECURITIES DEBT, PENSION AND OBEP OBLIGATIONS, AND TAXPAYER NEEDS
​<
http://www.bu.edu/rbfl/files/2014/03/RBFL-Vol-33.2_Chung.pdf
>
 

​3) 
What Corrupt States Spend Their Money On



4) 
Building State Rainy Day Funds
Policies to Harness Revenue Volatility, Stabilize Budgets, and Strengthen Reserves 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trends in State Courts -- 2014, Focus on Juvenile Justice and Elder Issues‏

Trends in State Courts -- 2014, Focus on Juvenile Justice and Elder Issues, is a free download
<http://www.ncsc.org/~/media/Microsites/Files/Future%20Trends%202014/2014%20NCSC%20Trends> has multiple co-authors working with and out of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for NSCS: they have helped the country weather some major changes, and are continuing to conduct research that is valid and objective.  If you call them, they are quite helpful and if they have the specific expert on State Courts you need, they will get him or her on the phone. If the specific expert you need is located elsewhere, they will give you the contact information.  NCSC also has a comprehensive grasp of the financial struggles hitting State Courts around the country and are developing and disseminating innovative tactics and strategies to improve the delivery of justice.

The Report is over 121 megs in size so I am not attaching it.  N.B. In a national survey some years ago, State Courts were at the top of state institutions on respect, newspapers were at or near the bottom.

A few of the topics that are relevant to us are
Technology Solutions to Increased Self- Representation, James J. Sandman
and Glenn Rawdon ..................................................... 55

The Procedural-Fairness Movement
Comes of Age,
Hon. Steve Leben ............................... 59

Steps to Better Electronic Records Governance,
Nial Raaen .................................................................. 63 

ELDER ISSUES
Introduction: The Growing Problems of Elder
Abuse and Adult Guardianships: National, State,
and Local Reform E
fforts, Brenda K. Uekert ............. 73

Elder Court: Enhancing Access to Justice
for Seniors,
Hon. Joyce Cram..................................... 77

Addressing the Needs of Older Americans in the Pennsylvania and Texas Courts, Brenda K. Uekert, Zygmont A. Pines, and David Slayton......................... 81
WINGS: Court-Community Partnerships to
Improve Adult Guardianship, Erica Wood ................ 85 
 
Plus many articles on Juvenile Justice.

Dwight Hines

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Comments/Questions on Livermore practices‏

Dwight E. Hines, Ph.D.
IndyMedia
42 Israelson Rd.
Livermore, Maine 04253
207-897-2032

June 17, 2014

Ms. Renda Guild, Administrator & Town Clerk,
Town of Livermore


Dear Ms. Guild:

With respect to the Livermore Selectmen’s Meeting of June 16, 2014, please file these questions/comments with the Selectmen and the treasurer for public discussion at the July 1, 2014, Selectmen’s meeting.   

1)  From the comments made by the treasurer at the June 16th meeting, the heating oil companies are all refusing to bid in writing on providing heating oil to Livermore.  Is this acceptable to the Selectmen?

2)  From the comments made by the treasurer at the June 16th meeting, the SAVE organization sent a letter to the treasurer specifying the number of people they served, but included no independent or objective measures of the quality of services or measures from their clients on client satisfaction with services.   Is this acceptable to the Selectmen?

3)  From the comments made by the treasurer at the June 16th meeting, she met with a representative of MMA and decided to award them the contract for services they render, without any other discussions or bids with other providers.  Is this acceptable to the Selectmen?

4)  From the comments made by Ms. Guild on the $15,000.00 contract for property tax evaluations, there will be no competitive bidding on that contract because “They have been good to us.”   Is this acceptable to the Selectmen?

5)  During the June 16th meeting, Selectman Neuman, who has completely missed three Selectmen’s meetings and left one meeting early, stated that he would not attend the July 1, 2014, meeting.  Selectman Neuman would be missing the equivalent of two months of Selectmen’s meetings.  After some discussion, that included not paying Selectmen for missed meetings, Selectman Newman stated that I could circulate a petition to that effect and bring it before the Annual Town meeting next year.

Selectman Neuman, as usual, was partially correct.  In the Town of Peru, a petition was circulated and approved by town vote for an ordinance to remove an elected official for cause.  The town then passed a petition that recalled three selectmen at a special town meeting, thus avoiding the long wait to the next annual town meeting.   Looking back on the Peru process, I think there are better alternatives to consider for Livermore via Maine and Federal Courts:

1) Selectman Neuman swore a required oath of office before taking office and there is a special writ for the removal of officials who violate their oath of office (Maine Superior Court)

2) I believe Selectman Neuman is committing simple fraud by his multiple absences. (Small Claims Court);

3)  I believe Selectman Neuman has committed multiple violations of Maine’s Anti-SLAPP Law, which violations, taken individually appear simple but, taken collectively show a pattern and practice that are substantial violations that cumulatively violate Maine’s common laws on free speech and federal constitutional and statutory laws on free speech, including, but not limited to, 42 U.S.C § 1983.  (Maine State Superior Court; Federal Court).

4) On July 1, 2014, new Maine laws go into effect and it may be possible to include these controversies in a planned federal complaint, in the interest of judicial economy.  I will discuss this with attorneys.

Taking a court approach, compared to petitions, will allow for affidavits, interrogatories, and depositions that can explore related violations of common, civil and commercial rights.

Ms. Guild, please include a copy of the MMA paper explaining Executive Sessions that I sent you last week and a copy of the spreadsheet showing differences in cost of heating oil for Neuman Oil & SAD #73, if we had cooperated with them.

I will provide a copy of a template spreadsheet for showing cost differences in non-bid contracts vs bid contracts (15% vs 35%).



Dwight Hines



Copy:
Lisbon Reporter
Forbes

Saturday, May 31, 2014

In Lisbon The Question Is Not What Goes On, But What Goes On Behind Closed Doors



WHAT GOES ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!!!!

For years now, I have been arguing with the previous and present councils that these councilors have been misusing the Executive Session laws.  In the past, I stated the Maine Statue as justification for my beliefs.  However, like all legal mumbo jumbo there is always room for many different interpretations.  Our current Chairwoman was no different.  However, there is now a document coming right from the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) legal services that is in English and clarifies the use of an Executive Session (See Attached).

email from the MMA legal services

VI. Executive Sessions

Another category of legally non-public municipal activity involves matters of discussion during a
public proceeding, which by its nature could cause any party (other than the members of the
municipal board holding the proceeding) injury if publicly disclosed. In order to avoid such an
injury, board members are allowed to go into an executive session to deliberate on those matters
and no others (see 1 MRSA § 405). Strict rules apply to the calling and conduct of executive
sessions by municipal boards (see 1 M.R.S.A. § 405(1)-(5)). Board members should especially note
the following:

Executive sessions may be held only for the limited purpose of the permitted deliberation, and no final action may be taken in executive session.
>  The law requires that a board must first be conducting a properly noticed public meeting
before it goes into executive session.
>  In addition, before a board enters executive session, there must be a public motion to enter
executive session and the motion must be approved by a public recorded vote of at least
3/5ths of the board members present and voting.
The motion to enter executive session must state “the precise nature of the executive session” and must also “include a citation of one or more sources of statutory or other authority that permits an executive session for that business.” (Note that the parties must be named before going into executive session to discuss labor contracts or proposals.) See “Executive Session Motions – A Quick Guide” above for sample motions.
 If the board members wish to approve an action after they have discussed a matter in
executive session, the board must exit the executive session, return to the public meeting, and take any vote or other formal action in the public portion of its meeting.
>  Finally, the purpose of the Right to Know law cannot be defeated through the misuse of
executive session. Action taken or resulting from an executive session in violation of the Right
to Know law is illegal, and upon complaint would be found by a court to be void and
unenforceable.

The “Right to Know” Law itself only permits closed-door deliberation on specific subjects listed in the statute (see 1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)). (Additionally 36 M.R.S.A. § 841(2) requires that hearings and proceedings related to poverty abatements be held in executive session.) Moreover, the board that meets in executive session bears the burden of establishing the legitimacy of the executive
session if its legality is challenged in court (see Underwood v. City of Presque Isle, 1998 ME 166,
715 A.2d 148). Executive sessions are permitted for the following topics:

1. Personnel matters concerning an individual employee or group of employees, or public officials
and appointees -- but only when public discussion could damage a person’s reputation or, when a
person’s right to privacy would be violated.
NOTE: The individual who is the subject of the executive session may request an open meeting, in
which case the meeting must be open.
2. Real estate and economic development negotiations, but only when premature disclosure
would hurt the town’s competitive or bargaining position.
3. Discussion of labor contracts and proposals between the town and the labor negotiators, but
negotiations may be held openly provided both parties agree.
4. Meetings between the town and its attorney, but only when premature disclosure of the topic
would place the town at a substantial disadvantage. Similarly, the municipal officers (selectmen or
councilors) may consult with the code enforcement officer representing that municipality in a Rule
80 K land use enforcement matter in executive session where the consultation related to that
enforcement matter.
NOTE: In order to enter into an executive session for this purpose, the municipal attorney must be
present - at least to the degree of a telephone hook-up or conference call.
5. Discussion of information contained in records made confidential by statute.
6. Discussion or consideration by the school board of the suspense or expulsion of a public school
student, or a private school student whose costs of education are paid from public funds.
NOTE: The student, and parents/guardians if a minor, and legal counsel are permitted to be
present at the executive session.
7. Discussion, consultation, review or approval of the content of examinations that were
administered by a body or agency for licensing, permitting or employment purposes.
As will be described below in the section on Public Records, minutes taken or any form of written
or electronically recorded record or note is generally not confidential by law and would be subject
to public inspection. It is therefore recommended that no physical record of executive sessions be
taken.

From the MMA Municipal Officers Manual, Chapter 6:

The FOAA has some important procedural rules to follow before going into executive
session:

First, executive session can only be entered after a motion has been made in public session
to go into executive session. The nature of the business to be discussed must be a part of that
motion, although the wording of the motion should not reveal the sensitive information that
the law intends to protect by the executive session process. The motion must “include a
citation of one or more sources of statutory or other authority” to justify the executive
session (1 M.R.S.A § 405(4)). See “Executive Session Motions Now Required to Cite Law,”
“Legal Notes.” Maine Townsman, December 2004; “Executive Sessions (Again),” “Legal
Notes.” Maine Townsman, January 2005; and “Executive Session Motion Citations–A
Quick Guide.” The motion must carry by at least 3/5 of the members present. A written
record must be made of the motion and vote, even if the board does not usually keep
minutes.

Second, no other matters except the specific subject cited in the motion to enter executive
session may be discussed.

Third, an executive session is for the purpose of discussion only. No decision can be reached
by the board, no motion can be made, and no final action can be decided or taken in
executive session. See “Board Vote by Secret Ballot Violates FOAA,” “Legal Notes.”
Maine Townsman, February 2007.

Finally, the purpose of the FOAA cannot be defeated through the misuse of executive
session. Action taken or resulting from an executive session in violation of the FOAA is
illegal, and upon complaint would be found by a court to be void and unenforceable. For an
FOAA claim filed on or after January 1, 2010 alleging that action was taken in executive
session, the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to a “substantially
prevailing plaintiff” where the court determines that the illegal action was committed in bad
faith (1 M.R.S.A. § 409(2)). Willful violations of the FOAA may result in a fine of $500
(1 M.R.S.A. § 410).


I trust these materials are helpful. Please contact me if you have additional questions.

Kind regards,

MLS
Michael L. Stultz
Legal Services Department
Maine Municipal Association
60 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330
1-800-452-8786 (in state)
207-623-8428
FAX 207-624-0187
legal@memun.org
**I have not changed the contents of the document but I did highlight several passages to make a point.  I have a copy of the original if anyone wants to see it.**

Previous Councils have had a history of holding illegal Executive Sessions; however, this fact was not divulged to the people until years later.  A few examples are:

a.   A previous council sold the old high school for $1.00 to the Brunswick Housing Authority and then transferred over a million dollars of Federal grant money to renovate the building.
 
b.  When the Miller Family offer the town to demolish the Worumbo Mill and Gina Mason persuaded the council not to accept this offer.
 
c. Chairman LaRochelle and Mr. Eldridge meeting on the town purchasing the Worumbo Mill.

I am positive there are many many more cases of illegal Executive Session that have taken place without the people’s knowledge.  Because these meetings are behind closed doors, it is impossible to tell if any other business was discussed or if any final action was taken.

Past and present councils have never been in compliance with telling the people “the precise nature of the executive session”.  A personnel matter is not a “precise” description of the nature of the executive session.  Another violation is when the council goes into Executive Session on a personnel matter that does not damage a person’s reputation or a person’s right to privacy.

Real estate and economic development negotiations, but only when premature disclosure would hurt the town’s competitive or bargaining position.    Another violation is when the council meets in Executive Session to negotiate a labor contract.  The council does not negotiate anything.  There are individuals like the Town Attorney or the Town Manager who do all the negotiations and report back to the council.  So if the council does not negotiate anything, all Executive Session under this false claim is illegal. 

Under Maine’s “Right to Know”, the people have a right to be told what is going on in this town.  Finally, the purpose of the Freedom of Access ACT (FOAA) cannot be defeated through the misuse of executive sessions.  Action taken or resulting from an executive session in violation of the FOAA is illegal, and upon complaint would be found by a court to be void and unenforceable.  Willful violation of the FOAA may result in a fine of $500.00.  Let’s hope our current council gets its act together before this becomes a reality.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these back door sessions were used only for the purpose they were designed instead of covering up shady dealings?

Larry Fillmore