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l-r William Brann, Gary McFarland, Richard Fennelly Jr., Jo Cooper, Cynthia Donaldson
Minutes of June 26, 2012 Special Meeting

Chair Jo Cooper called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

Present were: Selectmen Cynthia Donaldson, Richard Fennelly Jr., S. Josephine Cooper, Gary McFarland, William Brann; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, RSU 24 Representative Brett Jones and Hancock “Griff” Fenton. The Board of Assessors was holding a workshop meeting at the same time on the other side of the meeting room.

Expenditure Warrant 26 – Selectmen signed warrant 26 in the amount of $10,702.56.

Appointment to RSU 24 Withdrawal Committee – Brett Jones noted that the first meeting for the Withdrawal Committee has been set for 4:00 PM on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at the RSU 24 Central Office Conference Room.

Richard nominated Gary to be the Municipal Officer Representative. Jo 2nd . Vote in favor was 4-0 (McFarland abstained)

Jo nominated Gordon Donaldson as the Petitioning Group Representative. Gary 2nd . Vote in favor was 5-0.

Richard nominated Doug Stewart to be the Public Representative. There was no immediate second.

There was a discussion about the several people who said they were willing to serve. Jo said she would be comfortable with any of them.

Hancock “Griff” Fenton said he was against how the RSU was formed, and that he has a history of education in his background. Jo said Bob Pulver is a retired superintendent who served on the school board. Brett Jones noted Mr. Pulver sat on the school board during the entire consolidation process. Mr. Fenton noted that he also served on the school committee.

Mr. Jones said the task ahead of the withdrawal committee is to negotiate a withdrawal plan. He said the state would have to review the plan which either would be as a stand-alone unit or with other communities as an Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS). Jo said she got the impression at the public hearing that this would be a feasibility study. Mr. Jones said the final vote is whether to withdraw, and the town would say yes or no to that. Richard said he too got the impression at the hearings that this was to explore withdrawal. He said it was not his understanding that the vote meant the town actually wanted to withdraw. Mr. Jones said whatever the withdrawal committee comes up with will be presented to the town. Richard said he understood that the work of the committee would be to determine if it was in the best interest of the town to withdraw, and if it doesn't make sense to leave, that would also be presented to the town. A discussion regarding the role of the withdrawal committee followed.

Mr. Jones said the withdrawal committee has a specific task to perform that does not involve advocacy. Further discussion followed about advocacy and who would review the plan and the figures presented. There was discussion about how to determine the costs to run the education department of the town. Jo said she would like to hear more regarding the potential candidates for the withdrawal committee.

Cynthia said the community needs information on which to make a very big decision, and it's the task of the Selectmen to set up a committee to explore that information. Gary said he wanted to be on that committee to look at all the aspects, and he hoped that the withdrawal committee would look at all the options. He said the committee might determine that the town is better off remaining with the RSU. He said he hopes a lot of the questions asked at the hearings can be answered. He said he wants to be fair.

Bill said his first inclination was to favor the candidate who made the effort to attend the meeting. Jo said there are four people who want to be involved. Brett said looking at the makeup of the committee, Gordon Donaldson has a strong background in education, Gary has a business background, and he does not know Mr. Stewart. Richard said he is concerned about stacking the board with pro-withdrawal members. He said maybe the committee needs people who are not so “agenda-driven”. He said he thinks there has been an anti-RSU agenda for some time, and he would favor some people not closely tied to that. Mr. Fenton said he was initially opposed to the RSU when it was formed, but this is now. He said he would favor the best education for children they can get and the best bang for the buck, and that has always been his goal. He said he could favor staying in the RSU if the facts support it.

Richard said it's clear from a financial perspective that it will cost more for self-determination and that students are receiving a good education in the RSU. He said he thinks there has been a general disregard for the costs. A discussion followed on what could be endorsed. Mr. Jones said he was surprised that Richard doesn't see the inherent danger from a lack of self determination. He said RSU 24 is a $35-million bureaucracy. A discussion followed.

Jo said this is a divisive issue, then 2nd the nomination of Douglas Stewart as the public board member. She said she wished the Selectmen could appoint all the candidates. Vote in favor of Mr. Stewart was 5-0. Selectmen then signed the appointment papers for Mr. Stewart, Gary, and Dr. Donaldson.

Interim Code Enforcement Officer – Stu reported that he spoke with Dennis Ford and he was willing to serve as the interim CEO as requested at the previous Selectmen's meeting. Selectmen signed papers appointing Mr. Ford as the interim CEO, Local Plumbing Inspector and Building Inspector.

Communication with CW Hemingway - Stu reported he drafted a letter to Mr. Hemingway based on the discussion of the previous meeting. Selectmen reviewed the letter and without objection, Jo signed it.

Another informal discussion followed in regard to the withdrawal committee's role.

Michael Jordan expressed concern that he was not offered the post as the interim CEO. He noted that he ran the CEO office for 7-weeks last winter. Jo said the appointment was simply to keep the office on course. Bill said if Mr. Ford had indicated he wasn't willing to stay on the job temporarily, he could be gone – the appointment is just keeping him on the job until the end of July. Mr. Jordan said he was at a loss as to why he was not asked. He said that bothered him.

Selectmen said they would discuss that at the July 12, 2012 meeting in executive session.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:42 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.