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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Termination Of Town Manager

                                    8 November 2010

SUBJECT:  Termination of Town Manager for Cause

Lisbon Town Council
300 Lisbon Street
Lisbon, ME 04250

Respectfully, request Mr. Stephen Eldridge, Lisbon Town Manager, be terminated immediately for cause in accordance with (IAW) paragraph 3.03, Removal, Town of Lisbon Charter. Mr. Eldridge has failed to comply with paragraph 3.02, Power and Duties of the Town Manager, Town of Lisbon Charter as described below:

    a.  Mr. Eldridge failed to comply with paragraph 3.02 “… The Manager shall be responsible to the council for the proper administration of all affairs of the Town….” by misleading the Town Council into thinking the 2011 Commitment he presented to the council was prepared properly and contained all the documentation required by the State of Maine Property Tax Bulletin Number 15 in order to have a valid commitment.  Mr. Eldridge’s actions lead the council into voting on and approving an invalid commitment.

    b.  Mr. Eldridge failed to comply with paragraph 3.02(d) “The Manager shall see that all laws, provisions of the charter and acts of the council, subject to enforcement by him or her or by officers subject to his or her direction and supervision, are faithfully executed.”  Mr. Eldridge has been a Town Manager for several years and as such is required to know what documentation is required for a valid commitment.  Mr. Eldridge failed to ensure all required documentation for a valid commitment was prepared by the Tax Assessor.  Mr. Eldridge is not required to perform the duties as Tax Assessor but as the Tax Assessors direct supervisor Mr. Eldridge is REQUIRED to have a “working knowledge” of the Tax Assessor position to include the documents necessary for a valid commitment.  He is also required to ensure the required documents for “The Valuation Book” are prepared and present in the Tax Assessor’s office as required by State of Maine Property Bulletin Number 15.

 Under the provisions of the paragraph 3.02(d), Mr. Eldridge is required to know the State of Maine laws as pertain to the operation of a municipality.  The Town Manager is the Chief Administrative Officer for the town.  The residents of the Town of Lisbon compensate Mr. Eldridge very well to ensure the town is operating IAW State of Maine laws and regulations.  Mr. Eldridge has failed to perform his required duties by not ensuring the required documentation was on file IAW State of Maine Property Bulletin Number 15.

c.    Mr. Eldridge failed to comply with paragraph 3.02(b) “The Manager shall direct and supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the Town except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law.”  Mr. Eldridge violated this paragraph by directing the Tax Collector to issue the 2011 Real Estate Tax Bill without a valid commitment.  

Mr. Eldridge’s failure to comply with State of Maine law has placed the Town of Lisbon is a situation where revenue is being collected improperly and without a valid commitment.  The town is only authorized to collect taxes under a valid commitment and therefore, the town could continue to collect taxes under last year’s commitment if it was valid but can not collect any taxes under the new commitment as it is invalid and therefore does not exist.  The town is fraudulently collecting revenue without a valid commitment which I believe is against the law.  This could cause the Town Council and Town of Lisbon to be liable.

Mr. Eldridge’s dereliction of duty is presently costing the Town of Lisbon a great deal of money.  The obvious additional cost is the hiring of Mr. William Van Tuinen and his people to prepare a valid commitment in order to legally collect revenue.  This includes preparing the documentation required by the State of Maine.  The town already paid for this service to the previous Tax Assessor and because he was not properly supervised and did not prepare the required documentations the town is paying for this service again.  This additional cost could have been prevented had the Town Manager performed his required duties as outlined in the town charter.

    The town will have to send out new 2011 Real Estate Tax Bill once the town has a valid commitment.  Currently, the town is sending out statements to all the mortgage companies explaining the previous sent 2011 Real Estate Tax Bill sent to mortgage companies was in error.  Hopefully, this will eliminate any excessive home payments for Lisbon residents.  All of these actions require man-hours and postage the town will have to pay.  These additional costs will have to be paid by the residents of the town of Lisbon.  The residents of the town of Lisbon already are paying their fair share without requiring the residents to pay for the incompetence of the Town Manager.  I believe the Town Council should retrieve all additional cost from Mr. Eldridge’s pay as he created this situation by failing to perform his duties as required by the charter.

                        Larry A. Fillmore

                                      Lisbon, Maine