Selectmen, Moderator Double Down: CHAOS Continues

At a packed emergency meeting with the Town Moderator, Dan Barnard, the Selectmen (Lloyd Wood, Bill Marcussen, and Chip Albee) declared their intention to plow forward on the library-addition warrant article even though they failed to hold a statutorily required public hearing on the library bond before Town Meeting. Because they failed to hold this hearing, the vote on the library-warrant article will have no legal effect and will not empower the selectmen to take out the roughly $1 million loan that will be required to complete the project.

If the library-addition article receives a vote of more than 2/3 of those present at Town Meeting, the Selectmen intend to call a second, so-called “special” Town Meeting in April to “ratify” the vote taken at the first Town Meeting. At the second Town Meeting,  the voters could vote to “ratify,” or they could vote “no” and decline to ratify.

In the interim, the selectmen will hold a public hearing on the the issue of the roughly $1 million loan  — this is the hearing that, by law, they should have held at least 15 days before the March 14th Town Meeting.

Max Ledoux

Author: Max Ledoux

I've lived in Tuftonboro since 2014. I grew up in Lisbon Falls, Maine (the Moxie capital of the world). I run

9 thoughts on “Selectmen, Moderator Double Down: CHAOS Continues”

  1. The lack of respect for our elected public officials during the question and answer session of this meeting was startling. Nothing is gained by such attacks. In my estimation the selectman are all honorable citizens doing the best they can in return for meager compensation. I hope as we move through the process civility is restored to these meeting.

  2. I did lose my temper today. I should have expressed my anger in a more civil manner.

    I do not respect Bill and Lloyd — as selectmen. This is not about them as individuals, since I really don’t know them.

    Bill and Lloyd tried to use the power of government to harm me financially and to impede my and everyone else’s Right to Know. They sued me and wasted more than $20,000 in taxpayer money in a court case that dragged on for nine months. After the court ruled against them, they took more than two months to finally send me all of the documents I had originally requested. They do not deserve respect merely because they’re in office. Respect is earned. I respect Chip for being willing to talk. I do appreciate that he opened the floor to public comment today. Bill and Lloyd would probably not have done that otherwise (based on their past actions).

    However, “doing the best they can” should mean that they acknowledge error, apologize, adjust course, and move on. It’s not that they make mistakes — everyone does. It’s how they handle mistakes. They tend to handle mistakes by digging in their heels, obfuscating, and refusing to take in new information.

    For instance, at last year’s Town Meeting, voters explicitly removed the selectmen’s ability to sell properties by auction. A month later, the selectmen began discussing selling properties by auction. I reminded them of the vote at Town Meeting. Chip literally didn’t believe me. It was on video tape. They refused to watch the video tape. They were 100% wrong and wouldn’t admit it.

  3. Withn a history of misconduct as a public official that goes back to the 80’s and has continued right on up ‘til now, Lloyd Wood will not get my respect. Bill Marcussen has not performed any better in his short time in office and has been complicit in causing unnecessary expense to the taxpayers. He also will not get my respect.

  4. Max

    Nothing is gained by telling someone they should resign, they are incompetent, etc., especially in a public forum. As I have written in the past, if you think someone is doing a poor job as selectman you should run for election and prove that you can do a better job.

    The library issue has been going on for many years and the majority of folks want it to move forward, although perhaps not a supermajority. At least not yet. I had hoped the “Skip Hurt Proposal” had found a middle ground that could be supported by a supermajority. Unfortunately, the procedural missteps have placed in doubt the ability for this proposal to get a fair hearing in 2018.

    Given recent developments, I think it is prudent to table the project until 2019. I can’t speak to the legal issues but from a practical standpoint I’d hate to see the ballot question pass at town meeting and then be overturned at a special town meeting in April. Given how close the votes have been this is a real possibility. I can envision a scenario where the ballot initiative passes by say 68% at town meeting and then the opposition is mobilized and defeats the proposal by an equally slim margin at the follow-up meeting. That would not be a good outcome for this already fractured town.

  5. Mike, I do not believe the majority want this library project including new building or an addition to current building. At town meeting over the years the vote in favor indeed has shown a majority however all that is indicating is those who show up at town meeting want it, not a majority of the town. A better more accurate measurement of what the entire town wants is the results of the last master survey where 79% of the 1,076 responses said the current library is excellent to adequate.

  6. Rick: You may be correct but it doesn’t matter. Only those who vote count. Using your logic President Trump wouldn’t be in office as arguably more US citizens felt Clinton was the better choice in 2016. In fact, Clinton won the popular vote. To avoid chaos we have very detailed rules and procedures for determining election outcomes and a statistically irrelevant survey isn’t part of the process.

  7. Mike:
    Just a point of clarification — the current library article is not the “Skip Proposal.” His proposal would not have needed the 2/3 majority to pass because it didn’t have a loan for more than $100,000.

  8. Skip tried to put forward something that would avoid the mess we’re in currently. Sadly, like Cassandra, no one listened to him.

  9. Mike, I was using the survey results to make my point to you that the majority of folks in town as you stated want this is not accurate. The survey clearly shows the majority do not want this, only the majority who show up at town meeting.

    Regarding Trumps victory, more States thought Trump was a better choice and that is all that matters, not popular vote.

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