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Showing posts with label Finance Director. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finance Director. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

GreatFallsTV: Lisbon Town Council Meeting July 21st, 2015 Public Hearing with School Committee

Part One







Part Two


 






Part Three



Monday, July 27, 2015

TRANSPARENCY OR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES?



In a previous article, I wrote that I was sure that there would be technical difficulties with the video of Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.  As I stated previously, Chairman Pesce and the rest of them should be ashamed for the character assassination of Superintendent Richard Green by Mr. Karass, the Finance Director.


But what is even more despicable is how the other Councilors, Town Manager and Town Attorney sat there and made no attempt to stop this clear violation of the Council Working Rules.  I was, of the understanding, that the town is paying the Town Manager and Town Attorney a great deal of money to advise the Council.  Character assassination of anyone is totally disrespectful and to utilize it to justify the Council furthering their vendetta of the School Department shows how low these Councilors really are.  When, I make that statement I do not include Councilor Garrison or Lunt.


The video of this act and the fact that there were TWO Executive Sessions did not play on Friday night.  And I do not know if the people at home will ever see how phony some members of the local government are.  The taxpayers are paying hard earned money and deserve better treatment.


Whenever the Council does not want the people to see what, did or did not take place at a Town Council meeting, there are always technical difficulties with the video.  This has happened numerous times and always when there is a controversy. 

 Isn’t that strange!??!


I guess that the question “transparency or technical difficulties” has now been answered.  The town of Lisbon is slowly going back to the Eldridge era where so many issues were hidden behind closed doors from the people.



Larry Fillmore

"There is nothing more terrifying than ignorance in action."  Goethe  --- engraved on a plaque at the Naval War College

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recap Town Council Meeting - March 3 , 2015



RECAP TOWN COUNCIL MEETING – MARCH 3, 2015

Last night the Town Council met and the council chambers were filled. Even a TV had been setup in the hallway with chairs and there were not enough to seat everyone who was there.  The citizens turned out to protest the council requiring the School Department to cut $600,000.00 out of the 2015-2016 school budget.



Before Superintendent Green presented the school budget, the council conducted their normal business.  The following agenda items were approved by a vote of 6-0 because Councilor Lunt was excused:



1.      Public Works Addition – The Council approved and gave permission to go forward on  the 25x80 addition to the current garage.

2.     FY 2013 Homeland Security Supplemental Funds – The Council approved Chief Brooks to use $5,666.61 of forfeiture funds for the Voter Repeater System and $9,234.00 of forfeiture funds for two (2) mobile computers (MDTs) for the two new cruisers.    This leaves approximately $19,930.51 of forfeiture funds available.


3.     Downtown Omnibus Municipal Tax Increment Financing District Development Program – This was a conditional TIF and the Council approved it.


4.     Non-Storm Water Discharge Ordinance (First Reading) – Was approved as provided.


5.     Post-Construction Storm Water Management Ordinance (First Reading) – Was approved as provided.


6.     Section 47-4 Street Excavation Amendment (First Reading) – Was approved as provided.



Under Other Business – The Town Manager asked the council to hold off on replacing the Parks Director until April to give her time to look at all the options.  The Council agreed.  The Town Manager’s report revealed that there is a listing of unclaimed properties on the town web site under the Town Clerk’s section.  Also, the Police Department study will begin next week and will take 30-90 days.


Superintendent Green presented a preliminary 2015/2016 budget to the council.


This budget did not include the $600,000.00 cut directed by the Council.



During Audience Participation, approximately 25 citizens spoke in support of Mr. Green and the school budget against the cuts.  This lasted until approximately 09:20 PM. 



The final order of business was that Mr. Edward Karass was appointed as the new Finance Director for the town of Lisbon.



Larry Fillmore

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AGENDA TOWN COUNCIL TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2015




AGENDA
TOWN COUNCIL

TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2015

LISBON TOWN OFFICE

7:00 P.M.

1.   CALL TO ORDER & PLEDGE TO FLAG

2.   ROLL CALL
___Councilor Bickford
___ Councilor Brunelle
___ Councilor Crafts
___ Councilor Garrison
___ Councilor Lunt
___Councilor Metivier
___ Councilor Pesce

      Town Clerk reading of meeting rules

3.  GOOD NEWS & RECOGNITION

4.   PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. Special Entertainment Permit for Sandra Harkins d/b/a Railroad Diner
B. Downtown Omnibus Municipal Tax Increment Financing District Development Program

5.  AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION & RESPONSE FOR AGENDA ITEMS

6.   CONSENT AGENDA
      2015-53   ORDER −  A. Minutes of February 17, 2015
                                      B. Special Entertainment Permit & Liquor License for Sandra Harkins d/b/a Railroad Diner

7.   COUNCIL ORDERS, RESOLUTIONS, & ORDINANCES
      
 2015-54    ORDER − Public Works Addition
     
 2015-55    ORDER − FY 2013 Homeland Security Supplemental Funds
     
 2015-56    RESOLUTION − Downtown Omnibus Municipal Tax Increment Financing District Development Program
       
2015-57    ORDINANCES − Non-Storm Water Discharge Ordinance (First Reading)
     
 2015-58    ORDINANCES − Post-Construction Stormwater Management Ordinance (First Reading)
     
 2015-59    ORDINANCES − Section 47-4 Street Excavations Amendment (First Reading)

8.   OTHER BUSINESS
      A.  Parks Director Vacancy Discussion
      B.   Town Manager's Report
      C.  School Budget Presentation

9. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION & RESPONSE NEW ITEMS

10. APPOINTMENTS
      2015-60   ORDER − Appoint Finance Director

11. COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS

12. EXECUTIVE SESSION
      2015-61   ORDER − 1 MRSA § 405 (6)(A) Personnel matters - Finance Director

13. ADJOURNMENT
      2015-62   ORDER - To Adjourn





SUMMARY OF LISBON COUNCIL MEETING RULES

This summary is provided for guidance only.  The complete council working rules may be found on the town website www.lisbonme.org on the Town Officials, Town Council page.

The meeting agenda is available from the town website under Council Agendas and Minutes.
1.   Please note the order that agenda items may be acted upon by the Council, however, if necessary, the Council may elect to change the order of the agenda.
2.   The Council Chairman presides over the meeting.  When the Chairman is not present, the Vice Chairman serves that function.  The chair shall preserve decorum and decide all questions of order and procedure subject to appeal to the town council.
3.   Public comment is not typically allowed during Council workshops.  There may be occasions where public comment may be recruited, but normally, workshops are reserved for Council members to discuss and educate themselves on a variety of issues facing the Town.  Prior to the conclusion of a workshop, if time permits, the chair may allow questions from the public. 
4.   During audience participation, anyone wishing to address council will wait to be recognized by the chair before beginning any remarks.  Audience members will move to the lectern to address council, and shall provide name and address prior to addressing the council.
5.   Note that “Consent Agenda” items (if there are any) are acted upon first, voted upon as a group, and will most often be voted on without discussion as these items often involve “housekeeping” issues (such as minor parking changes).  On occasion “Consent Agenda” items are separated out as stand-alone action items by the Council to allow for more discussion.
6.   Public comment on agenda items.  General comments on agenda items should be made during audience participation.  After introduction of an agenda item, appropriate motions, and time for explanation and council questions, the public may be allowed to comment on that agenda item at the discretion of the chair.  During that period of time, the public comment shall address only the agenda item before council. 
7.   Action on agenda items.  As each item on the agenda for any meeting is brought to the floor for discussion:
      a. The town clerk reads the agenda item and the action being requested of council.
       b. The sponsor of each item or, if there is no council sponsor, the town manager, or town staff, shall first be                                                      allowed to present their initial comments for consideration by the public and councilors. 
            c. Following this introduction of the issue, there will be time devoted to any questions of the sponsor or the town                       manager or staff regarding the agenda item which any councilor may have which would help to clarify the                       question presented by the agenda item.  The chair may allow questions from the public during this time                       however; no debate or discussion of collateral issues shall be permitted. 
            d. When authorized by the chair, any additional public comment shall be no longer than two minutes per person             and must be to request or furnish new or undisclosed information or viewpoints only. 
            e. Once an agenda item has been explained and clarified by any questioning, the discussion on the specific                    agenda item will remain with the council.  Additional public comment, prior to final council vote; will only be                  allowed at the chairman's discretion. 
8.   New business is for the council to receive input on town matters not on the agenda for that meeting.  It is not intended, nor shall it be construed as an opportunity for debate of previous agenda items or reinforcement of a point made by another speaker.  Comments shall be to furnish new or undisclosed information or viewpoints and limited to a time period of two minutes or less and shall be directed through the chair.
9.   If an “Executive Session” is conducted by the Council, State Statute prohibits public attendance for any discussion of the action to be addressed by the Council. Any action taken by the Council on any “Executive Session” matter must be acted upon in a public meeting, and may occur at the end of the “Executive Session” (which has no time element relative to the length of the discussion involved in the “session”).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

BUDGETING 101



BUDGETING 101


I did not made the Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting because I did not realize there was a time change but I did make a great deal of the workshop.  The workshop dealt with the Municipal Budget.  Councilor Lunt tried to make a point but was immediately cut off by Chairwoman Ward who changed the subject.  Councilor Pesce tried to make a point but Chairwoman Ward cut him off and changed the subject.  Both councilors had idea’s to reduce the current proposed budget but were denied the right to be heard by the Chair.  Chairwoman Ward’s main mission is to protect Chief Brook’s police department budget.

When a normal person is looking to reduce their spending or to establish a budget in which they can live; the first place to look is what you are spending the most of your money on.  As in every year past, this town has been dumping their hard earned tax dollars into the Police Department because Chief Brooks has always controlled the Town Council.

The cost to operate our police department continues to grow every year:  2012-$1,335,545.00; 
2013-$1,368,038.00 and finally 2014-$1,387,595.00.  If you want to know where we need to make cuts; look at the police department.  Chief Brooks has an Administrative Assistant ($40,657.88) which is paid $10,000.00 more than any other Administrative Assistance in town and has TWO part-time Secretaries (Salaries unknown).  These two part-time Secretaries work 20hrs per week to make one whole person.  The Communication Center is growing in cost and this year the Wages are going up 5.47%.  This town pays for TWO Detectives ($70,813.75 & $64,076.73); one who has already retired once like Chief Brooks ($72,159.70) and was rehired at the same salary like Chief Brooks the same day.  Towns normally have one detective and cities have more than one depending on the rate of crime.  Lisbon is a sleepy community and does not have a great deal of crime to warrant two detectives.

As you can see there is plenty of savings in just what is obvious.  So why is it the Council cannot see the same thing?  I personally believe it is because Chief Brooks controls the Town Council.  Anyone can tell what is going on by watching Chairwoman Ward’s action when it comes to the Police Department; watch the way Councilors Bickford, Lunt and Garrison vote on police issues.  Chief Brooks has always been given everything he asks for by the council.  Chief Brooks has been building an empire at the taxpayers’ expense.

Chief Brooks’ years of service have cost this town way too much and it needs to stop.

Larry Fillmore

Friday, May 30, 2014

AGENDA TOWN COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014 LISBON TOWN OFFICE 7:00 P.M.

AGENDA
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
LISBON TOWN OFFICE
7:00 P.M.

1. CALL TO ORDER & PLEDGE TO FLAG
 
2. ROLL CALL
 
___Councilor Bickford
___ Councilor Brunelle
___ Councilor Garrison
___ Councilor Lunt
___Councilor Metivier
___ Councilor Pesce
___ Councilor Ward
 
Town Clerk reading of meeting rules
 
3. GOOD NEWS & RECOGNITION
 
4. PUBLIC HEARINGS
 
A. Adria Groh's applications for a new 6-month Itinerant Vendor Permit
 
B. Rock Dawg's LLC applications for a new Itinerant Vendor Permit, Victualer's License, and Use of Town Owned Property
 
5. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION FOR AGENDA ITEMS
 
6. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION RESPONSE
 
7. CONSENT AGENDA
 
 2014-90 ORDER − A. Minutes of May 20, 2014
 
B. Minutes of May 27, 2014
 
C. Itinerant Vendor Permit - Adria Groh
 
D. Itinerant Vendor Permit, Victualer's License, & Use of Town Owned Property Permit
 
E. Renewal Victualer's License for Billy Harris d/b/a Bill's Place
 
8. COUNCIL ORDERS, RESOLUTIONS, & ORDINANCES
 
2014-91 ORDER − Review of Mobile Home & Personal Property Delinquencies
 
9. OTHER BUSINESS
 
A. Finance Director's Report
 
B. Council Chairman's announcement of annual appointment of the Ethics Panel Chairman
 
10. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION NEW ITEMS
 
11. COUNCIL RESPONSE TO NEW ITEMS
 
12. APPOINTMENTS

2014-92 ORDER − Library Governing Board 3-year term expiring June 30, 2017
 
2014-93 ORDER − Ethics Panel 3-year term renewal expiring June 30, 2017
2014-94 ORDER − Ethics Panel 3-year term renewal expiring June 30, 2017
 
2014-95 ORDER − Appeals Board 3-year term renewal expiring June 30, 2017
 
2014-96 ORDER − Planning Board 3-year term renewal expiring June 30, 2017
 
2014-97 ORDER − Planning Board 2-year term expiring June 30, 2015
 
2014-98 ORDER − Assessment Review Board 3-year term renewal expiring June 30, 2017
 
2014-99 ORDER − Appeals Board Resignation - Richard Long
 
2014-100 ORDER − Civil Constable - Paul Potvin, Harry Darling, and Harry Gorman
 
13. COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS
 
14. EXECUTIVE SESSION
 
2014-101 ORDER − 1 MRSA § 405 (6) (A) Board & Committee Interviews (If needed)
 
15. ADJOURNMENT
 
2014-102 ORDER − To Adjourn

Thursday, May 8, 2014

At What Point Are the People Going to Wake Up‏

Back in October 6, 2011, Jennifer Norris, former Economic Community Development Director for the town wrote an excellent article explaining what was going on in the town and warning the people.  Everything that Mrs. Norris said was true and is coming to light again.  Please reread Mrs. Norris’s letter.

The following letter was  originally posted on October 6, 2011

After quietly reading the Lisbon Reporter for over four years now, I can no longer be quiet.

Dear Editor,



After quietly reading the Lisbon Reporter for over four years now, I can no longer be quiet.



It saddens me greatly to see the direction the Town of Lisbon government has taken.  When I worked as an Economic Developer, the most important and fun part of my job was interacting with the dedicated citizens of Lisbon.  It didn't matter if they were from Lisbon or Lisbon Falls, the people that I got to interact were truly inspiring because they love their town.  I had it made working for the Town of Lisbon because of the citizens.  I was looking forward to pulling together the human capital in Lisbon because it was so easy.  The citizens of Lisbon are talented, have multiple skills, and want what's best for their community.  To learn that Faye Brown, an amazing woman, who gave and gave and gave to the Lisbon community in the form of aesthetics and character, is not going to be volunteering her time any longer breaks my heart.  To learn that the Moxie Festival that was beautifully run by hardworking, dedicated volunteers is now the number one responsibility of the new Economic Developer is even sadder.  But what makes my blood boil is the fact that the Town of Lisbon's current and past "non-citizen involvement" way of doing business is blowing up in their face, just like I told them it would. 



The straw that broke the camel's back when I worked as the Economic Developer was when I was disciplined for having a discussion with another staff member about a future economic development transaction.  Not only did my boss at the time, Chief David Brooks have a chit chat with me but Mike Bowie also did.  I was told that I was not allowed to talk about any economic development transactions with anyone because they wanted to keep it all confidential.  I told them that it was not possible because in order to do my job effectively, I needed to work with the citizens and keep them as informed as I could while respecting the potential business' need for confidentiality.  In the case of keeping information from the other staff member, they were basically asking me to work a deal and pull the rug out from underneath this person.  I'm talking about the teen center.  I had a business come to me interested in the teen center building.  I started with the person who was running the place at the time, Mark Stevens.  I told him about the interest the business owner had in the building not only out of respect but I wasn't about to do a business deal behind someone's back.  I spoke with Mark and learned that the building was donated and may have strings attached from the person who gave it to the town.  Of course this was important because we had a obligation to ensure that however we used that building, it was considered acceptable use not only by law but by the citizens of Lisbon.  You owned that property and therefore it was my duty to keep you in the loop.  Instead, Bowie and Brookes wanted me to keep the information from the public under the guise of economic development.  In most cases I would have kept the potential business identification confidential.  But in this case, the business owner also wanted the public or anyone else that had a stake to know that he was interested in purchasing the building.  He wanted to be upfront with the public.  And I understood why.  It's called good business, especially since the business owner recognized that the building was owned by the citizens of Lisbon, not Mike Bowie, not David Brooks.  



In order to do my job effectively, I needed the citizens of Lisbon.  I was not about to go behind your back when it involved a public building and then stretch the executive session clause that protects economic development endeavor's confidentiality.  I was not about to steal a building out from underneath a co-worker.  I had the conversation with the business owner about getting the okay from the Lisbon citizens first.  The business owner had no problems with that.  Why would Brookes and Bowie then pull me aside to scold me for not keeping the teen center building proposal confidential?  I'll tell you why.  Like most loans made by the Town of Lisbon, they were given to those businesses who would guarantee a return.  It was a revolving loan fund all right.  It revolved a bunch of times because the loans were given to businesses who would be able to pay them back and they could make money off the interest.  It was a slush fund with no rules attached, no checks and balances, and no oversight.  If they gave a loan to the business who wanted to purchase the Teen Center, they were guaranteeing a return.  They sold a building to the business, the business used economic development funds to purchase the building, therefore the money went from one Lisbon Account to another.  This same account was where the $32,500 was stolen from. 



What I find the most interesting is that Dan Feeney gave a loan to Davis Landscaping so that he could purchase a building next to his property.  Davis Landscaping also held the landscaping contract with the Town of Lisbon.  I learned that Mr. Davis purchased the property with economic development funds.  There was no business, no mention of business, no nothing just a request from Mr. Davis that I help him sell the lot.  In essence, he was asking me to be his real estate agent so that he would not have to pay a commission when he did sell the building.  He was never my priority.  Although, Mike Bowie went out of his way to express to me that he was impressed that I contacted Mr. Davis.  I only contacted him because the dude owed the town money and I wanted to make sure he paid since he never should have got the money to begin with.  I was very disappointed that he was tying up over $150,000 of funds that could have been utilized in other ways, ie a loan to a business (what a novel concept), an investment in our infrastructure, a matching fund, anything but in his hands.  It was another loan that turned my stomach because of its unfairness to the citizens of Lisbon and to me as the Economic Development Director.  I could have used that money in many, many wonderful ways that would have directly impacted the community, not just one man.  That is what those funds are there for.  These are federal funds for the community.  Stealing federal funds does not have a statute of limitation on them.  And that is exactly what has been going on in the Town of Lisbon.  



It is so disheartening to see the citizens of Lisbon work so hard to do what is right by their town but for all the wrong reasons.  If the Town of Lisbon would quit jerking the public around and put the effort into building alliances for the betterment of all in the community, you would see amazing results.  Instead you have a town council and others in positions of power ensuring that you don't know what is going on while they make all the decisions for you.  Having a town council who represents and one that thinks they know what is best for you is not what is going on.  The current town council is working hard to protect their freedom because if you knew what was really going on, people would be going to jail.  Unfortunately in the State of Maine, we have the Home Rule law which protects these "under the dome" towns via the Maine Constitution.  There is no oversight of a municipal government or checks and balances so unless the citizens step forward nothing will get done.  



Lisbon has the potential to be an amazing community.  I was planning on staying for years to see it all through.  I was looking forward to awarding contracts to bidders from Lisbon.  I was looking forward to helping our businesses.  I was looking forward to developing the business park at Longchamps.  And, I was looking forward to helping you make Lisbon beautiful.  It sucks to have to dump your energy into dealing with ignorance but its gotta be done.  
To those Lisbon citizens who don't know what to do but want it to stop so that you can make your town a home start with writing a letter to the Androscoggin DAs office and the Maine Attorney General's office.  Put the pressure on them and tell them that you mean business.  Tell them that you want something done about the stealing of federal funds.  I am your witness.  They do have a case.  You cannot get rid of the bank records or any financial transactions.  That is all recorded and will tell the story of dirty dealings in the past and present.  This is your money.  And I give you my word that I will stand behind all of my statements regardless of the venue.  I would not put myself out here if I did not know as a professional what is considered legal and illegal when it comes to federal funds.  
Its not unethical, its not unprofessional, its illegal!



Sincerely,


Jennifer Norris

Councilor Roger Cote spent three years on the council preaching the same thing and he too was ignored.  A review of the voting records during Councilor Cote’s tenure will show that he was the only one who voted against all this excessive spending and corruption.  Councilor Cote predicted that the town will end up in the financial situation it is today.

For the past three years, I have been providing documented proof of the corruption, collusion and excessive spending by Stephen Eldridge, former Town Manager. I have provided proof of questionable accounting practices by Mrs. Jessica Maloy, Finance Director and finally excessive spending by Chief Brooks by the Police Department for useless items such as assault rifles and a GPS.  There are many many more incidents of Chief Brooks wasting taxpayers’ monies for “Toys for the Boys”.

The town has a $500,000.00 money pit.  The Communication Center/Dispatch is a service that could and should be provided by Androscoggin County Dispatch who is an authorized state Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).  What does that mean to the citizens of Lisbon?  It means all 911 calls are first received by the Androscoggin County Dispatch and then relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center/Dispatch before any Police, Fire or Medical personnel are dispatched.  Common sense will tell you that this delay, regardless of how small, can make a difference between life and death.  The equipment was provided through a grant but it cost the taxpayers $275,000.00 to maintain operations when if we transfer the equipment and operations to the Androscoggin County Dispatch we can save all that money and will only have to pay for the services used.  If the Communication Center/Dispatch remains with the town, taxpayers are going to have to pay for the replacement or maintenance of this equipment, which is not cheap.

The people have allowed these individuals to squander over $2,000,000.00 (2 million tax dollars) of our Undesignated Fund and allowed them to raise our taxes for years.  Both Mrs. Norris and Councilor Cote tried to warn the people years ago.  At what point are the residents going to say enough is enough and put a stop to this insanity?

Larry Fillmore

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lisbon Police Department Bends The Taxpayers Over!

PROOF POSITIVE!!!

Well, the 2012-2013 Annual Report is available at the Town Office for those interested in seeing where our tax dollars are being spent.  A quick review will bring to light some very unsettling and disturbing facts. 

Councilor Cote and our blog sites have been telling the people about the Police Department sucking up the majority of our tax dollars.  Chief Brooks has made every effort to conceal the exorbitant cost of operating the Police Department.  The 2012-2013 Annual Report shows how much the Police Department is spending on  SALARIES ALONE.  The figures on the left below will show what the Town Council approved for the entire Police budget and the figures on the right will show you just how much was spent on salaries alone.  Keep in mind, when you are reviewing these figures that the numbers on the right are JUST SALARIES and cover no other operating cost while the number on the left was approved to cover everything.












                                Approved by              2012-2013
     Division            Town Council        Annual Report Salaries

Police                       $943,132.00                $951,989.75
Animal Control            75,030.00                    36,842.90
Comm Center             227,066.00                  204,584.32
        TOTAL:         $1,245,228.00             $1,193,416.97

This brings up something that Councilor Cote and we have been telling the taxpayers and that is Chief Brooks, Jessica Maloy and Stephen Eldridge had been shifting tax dollars into the Police Department for years and this is the proof.  Take a look on Page 36 of the 2012-2013 Annual Report and review the salaries of just our Police Officers.  Four officers make more than $70,000.00 each.  One Sergeant ($75,130.58) makes more than Chief Brooks ($72,159.70).  Six officers make more than our Lieutenant ($62,546.63) does.  

These figures are just salaries and do not cover any other operating cost.  Is there any doubt, what caused our “unfavorable expenditure budget variance”?  The taxpayers had to use Undesignated Funds in order to cover these salary increases that were never approved by the Town Council.

The current Police Department under Chief Brooks is the taxpayer’s biggest nightmare.  Instead of our tax dollars being used to improve the community, these funds are being diverted to the Police Department to fatten their pockets.  This will not stop until the Interim Town Manager and the Town Council gets rid of the cause of this corrupt spending.  Chief Brooks has served this community long enough and the town can no longer afford to pay the high price for his service.  These “Good Old Boys” need to go because we can no longer afford them.

Larry Fillmore

Friday, April 11, 2014

CHIEF BROOKS' :::: > LATEST PERFORMANCE PART II

CHIEF BROOKS LATEST PERFORMANCE – PART II

During last Tuesday’s night Town Council Workshop, Chief Brooks provided the council will a lot of misinformation.  He was talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.  During this article, I will try and explain how Chief Brooks can double-talk. 

Chief Brooks stated in October 1, 2013

when he was explaining the Federal Forfeiture Funds and what can be purchased using these funds.   He also stated that he would be using these funds for the purchase of vehicles.  Well, Tuesday night Chief Brooks stated he wanted the taxpayers to pay for the purchase of two cruisers and one Animal Control Officer truck.   However, he has added a twist this year by recommending all items on the 2015 Capital Improvement Plan be leased instead of purchasing outright.  Leasing cost the taxpayers additional funds! 

Councilor Garrison asked Chief Brooks if Unit 3 was the cruiser the town replaced the motor last year and Chief Brooks said YES in a very weak voice.  I always thought that once you replace a motor it would extend the life of the vehicle.  So what is the rush to replace this vehicle? 

Up until this year, Chief Brooks always comes into the council with a quote to purchase the vehicles.  Last year, he needed $48,816.00 for the purchase of two 2014 Ford Utility vehicles.  The Council approved the $48,816.00 for the “purchase “of two vehicles.

However, Chief Brooks and Mrs. Maloy, Finance Director, converted the approved purchase to a Lease to Purchase.  The Lease to Purchase cost the taxpayers $15,331.21 and the remaining $33,484.79 went somewhere else.  However, once this money was appropriated by the Council it cannot be spent unless the money is re-appropriated by the Council which was never done.  So this $33,484.79 was misappropriated by either Chief Brooks or Mrs. Maloy.  This is the reason our taxes continue to go up every year.  Leasing adds additional cost for each of these items to the taxpayers.  More BS from Chief Brooks! 

Chief Brooks stated that the reason he wanted to Lease to Purchase the vehicles is to establish a routine to replace these vehicles on a yearly basis.  This is the same line of crap he has been giving the Council every year for the last four or more years.  Establishing a Life Cycle Management takes about fifteen minutes to complete and Chief Brooks cannot accomplish this in four/five years. 

Chief Brook continues to double-talk the Council by asking the Council to spend taxpayers’ dollars instead of using the Federal Forfeiture Funds.  Each and every one of the items on the 2015 Capital Improvement Plan qualifies for purchasing under the Federal Forfeiture Fund program.  Chief Brooks acknowledged these items fall within the programs but did not explain why he has not purchased anything off the list since October 1, 2013.  Of course, Chief Brooks’ priority has been assault rifles, GPS Bundle and toys for the K9 Officer.  There is approximately $44,282.04 left in the Federal Forfeiture Funds which could be spent to cover some of the items on the 2015 Capital Improvement Plan.

Talk about fraud, waste and abuse by Chief Brooks.  Why doesn’t the Council put a stop to this frivolous spending?

More to come!

Larry Fillmore

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recap Town Council Meeting & Workshop March 18, 2014



RECAP TOWN COUNCIL MEETING & WORKSHOP – March 18th

At last night's Town Council meeting, it was different.  Two residents complained about the Chairman of the Trails Commission coming on to their property unannounced and trying to get them to buy into different projects involving their privately owned land.   One of the residents asked the council to remove him as Chairman of the Trails Commission but no action was taken at this time.

Under Council Order, Resolutions & Ordinances, there were three items on the agenda.  The first was a short discussion about the Trails Commission which ended with no action being taken.  Second, Chief Brooks presented to the council a form sent by the state for approval to accept $983.00 in forfeiture funds.  The Council approved this with a vote of 7-0.  Finally, the Town Clerk presented bids for the publishing of the Annual Town Report.  The Council approved the bid from Xpress Copy for $1,126.00 by a vote of 7-0.

Under Other Business, the Finance Director provided the council with her monthly report.

Under New Business there were four questions asked.  The first about the fire at the town garage and what was being done to fix this and had anyone given any thought to building a new facility.  The Interim Town Manager provided an excellent and in-depth briefing on where the town is on the negotiations with the insurance company.   

 Next, the question was asked about providing information about the Maine Human Rights Commission.  The response was that no details could be released because it involves a personnel issue.  Also the question was asked as to the current status of the litigation on the $32,500.  The Council will find out the answer.  

 Finally, the question was asked as to why the people have not been allowed to vote on the Municipal Budget since 2008.  A Referendum Question was asked if the people wanted to vote on the Municipal Budget in November 2011 and the results were 2025 Yes and 514 No.  According to Chairwoman Ward, this question was asked 77 times and answered 77 times.  Also, there are a lot of work needs to be done on rewriting the Charter in order to make this happen.   You would think that since 2011 would have been plenty of time to work out all of the details necessary to give the people what they want.

Next, the Council adjourned and move into a Workshop.  The Interim Town Manager provided a briefing on the 2014-2015 Municipal Budget.  Also, the following departments gave their budgets:  Finance/Tax ; Town Clerk; Town Manager; Codes/Assessing and Economic & Community Development.  It is my understanding these slides along with the proposed 2014-2015 Municipal Budget will be posted to the town web site shortly.

Larry Fillmore

Monday, March 17, 2014

Town Council Agenda For Tuesday March 18th, 2014

AGENDA
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2014
LISBON TOWN OFFICE
7:00 P.M.

1.CALL TO ORDER & PLEDGE TO FLAG

2.ROLL CALL
___Councilor Bickford
___ Councilor Brunelle
___ Councilor Garrison
___ Councilor Lunt
___Councilor Metivier
___ Councilor Pesce
___ Councilor Ward
Town Clerk reading of meeting rules

3.GOOD NEWS & RECOGNITION

4.PUBLIC HEARINGS

5.AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

6.AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION RESPONSE

7.CONSENT AGENDA
2014-40 ORDER − A. Minutes of March 4, 2014

8.COUNCIL ORDERS, RESOLUTIONS, & ORDINANCES
2014-41 ORDER − Discussion regarding concerns raised about the Trails Commission
2014-42 ORDER − Criminal Forfeiture
2014-43 ORDER − Town Report Bids

9.OTHER BUSINESS
A. Finance Director's Report

10.NEW BUSINESS

11.COUNCIL RESPONSE TO NEW BUSINESS

12.APPOINTMENTS

13.COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS

14.EXECUTIVE SESSION

15.ADJOURNMENT TO BUDGET WORKSHOP
2014-44 ORDER − To Adjourn to Budget Workshop

AGENDA
TOWN COUNCIL BUDGET WORKSHOP
TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2014
LISBON TOWN OFFICE

1.MUNICIPAL BUDGET PRESENTATION

2.DEPARTMENT HEAD BUDGET PRESENTATIONS
a.Finance/Tax Departments
b.Town Clerk
c.Town Manager
d.Codes/Assessing
e.Economic & Community Development

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Would Like To Know, What is "Unfavorable Expenditure Budget Variance‏" ?

          WHAT IS “UNFAVORABLE EXPENDITURE BUDGET VARIANCE”

I’ll bet you are wondering what “unfavorable expenditure budget variance” means and how does it affect you?  I have tried several times to get the town to explain what this term means.  No one in the town or Town Council could provide me with the answer.  So I decided to contact the Office of the Maine State Auditor.  Mrs. Mary Gingrow-Shaw, Deputy State Auditor, called me back and provided me with an explanation for “unfavorable expenditure budget variance”. 

The Town Council approves the yearly budget when the Revenue equals the Expenditures.  At this point, taxpayers know how much their taxes are going to go up.  However, at the end of the year, if the town has spent more than what was approved and had to take it from the Undesignated Fund it is called “unfavorable expenditure budget variance”.  In the case of last year, the town spent $223,514.00 of our tax dollars OVER what was approved by the Town Council.  I believe that the Town Manager and the Finance Director concealed the fact that they were spending funds from the Undesignated Fund.  As a result, the Undesignated Fund balance is below the recommended level outlined in our Charter to protect the town from going bankrupt.

This type of reckless spending is going to continue to raise our taxes year after year until someone steps in and puts a stop to this irresponsible spending.  It is imperative in this year’s budget that nothing that is not critical be purchased.  Another way to get the town back on track is to turn the Dispatch Center over to the County.  This will save the town approximately $500,000.00 tax dollars.  The Communication Center is the responsibility of the County since the Androscoggin County Dispatch is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for this area.  What does PSAP mean to you?  It is the point where all 911 Calls are received and where Police, Medical and Fire should be dispatched from since they are the first to receive the 911 call.  Lisbon is NOT a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

Reducing spending is the responsibility of both the School and the Town!!!!!


Larry Fillmore

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recap Town Council Meeting - January 21, 2014

                    RECAP TOWN COUNCIL MEETING – JANUARY 21ST

Last night’s Town Council meeting was once again a tension free meeting.  All personnel in attendance presented their points of view in a very cordial manner.

During Audience Participation, Water Commissioner Bill Bauer, presented two amendments to the current bill before the legislature which were discussed the prior week in a workshop.  This brought on a lengthy discussion about if the Town Council supported changing the Water Department to a Water District.  Today, the legislature was meeting with the Water Department to evaluate if progress had been made on their bill.  The Water Department was looking for a letter of support or at least no objections from the Town Council.  It ended with the Town Council stating they would prepare a letter for the legislature.

Under Council Order, Resolutions & Ordinances the Town Council set the 2014 Delinquent Tax Rate as the same as last year which is 7%.  The Council approved the bid for replacement Backhoe.  And with a surprise action the Council went into Executive Session and when they came back, Chairwoman Ward announced that the Separation Agreement dealt with Stephen G. Eldridge receiving a Separation Agreement.  The following Councilors voted to approve the Separation Agreement:  Chairwoman Ward; Councilor Bickford; Councilor Lunt and Councilor Garrison.  Councilor Pesce; Councilor Brunelle and Councilor Metivier were against a Separation Agreement.  According to Chairwoman Ward once the Separation Agreement was completed she would make the terms available to the people.

Under Other Business – The Finance Director gave her monthly report.  Mr. Dennis Douglas provided an excellent presentation of what occurs in the Code Enforcement Office.  Mrs. Tracey Steuber provided an excellent presentation of what occurs in the Economic Community Development Office.  This was followed by presentation by Jamel Torres from Healthy Androscoggin with the results of the Rural Active Living assessment.  This was followed by Mr. Don Fellows endorsement of the 2014-2015 Capital Improvement Plan.

Finally under Appointments – Dennis Douglas was appointed as ARTC Technical Committee Alternate.

Paula Gibbs, reporter for the Sun Journal, left at approximately 08:05 PM while the Town Council was in Executive Session so the article on the Sun Journal was only half of what happened at the Town Council meeting.

Larry Fillmore

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

RETRACTION on Unfavorable Expenditure Article



RETRACTION



During the conversation with Deputy State Auditor, Mary Gingrow-Shaw, she originally stated to me that according to the information she was provided the Police Department ended up spending over $1.500,000.00.  However, I received a phone call today from her stating that was not what she told me.  Instead of the Police Department she was referring to the Public Safety Department. 



Because I normally do not write anything without verification in hard copy, I have submitted a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request on January 17, 2014 for the ending balance for the Police Department.  

We shall see what figures Mrs. Maloy comes up with.



Larry Fillmore

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Won't They Explain An Unfavorable Expenditure?

               UNFAVORABLE EXPENDITURE BUDGET VARIANCE

During the meeting in November of the Town Council, the Annual Audit was briefed by the Accounting Firm that conducted the annual Audit.  In the presentation, the term “Unfavorable Expenditure” was used which I did not understand.  So I submitted a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request on November 22, 2013:

“Respectfully request a copy of the Purchase Order for the “Unfavorable Expenditure” identified in the yearly Auditor’s report.  A copy of the “Unfavorable Expenditure” identified in the yearly Auditor’s report.”

Below is what took place:  On November 22, 2013, I received an email from the Town Clerk-

“Mr. Fillmore: The Finance Director indicated that she does not have enough information to determine what you are referencing? Therefore, she is unable to provide any further information.  You would need to be more specific with your request (FOA#152).”

Below is what I responded on the same day:

“Mrs. Lycette:  Page 4 of the Town of Lisbon, Financial Overview, prepared by Runyon Kersteen Ouellette and briefed during the Town Council meeting on November 5, 2013 the second item under Observations.  It states “The town’s Unassigned fund balance changed from 2012-2013 as a result of an unfavorable expenditure budget variance.  I am looking for all the Purchase Orders which make up this unfavorable expenditure budget variance. I hope this is specific enough.  Thanks”

On November 26, 2013, I received the following letter from Mrs. Maloy, the Finance Director.  See Below:






As you can see, Mrs. Maloy has been avoiding the question; so I asked a Councilor to look into it.  The Councilor could not get a straight answer, so I contacted the Maine State Auditor’s office last week.  The Deputy State Auditor returned my call and provided a definition for the term “Unfavorable Expenditure Budget Variance”.  According to Deputy State Auditor, Mary Gingrow-Shaw, this term is a common term in accounting.  When the town budget is approved the revenues equals the expenditures, however, at the end of the fiscal year for 2012-2013 the expenditures exceeded the revenue so the town dipped into the Undesignated Fund for the difference.  The Undesignated Fund is our tax dollars that are set aside for emergencies.  According to the Deputy State Auditor, the town exceeded their expenditures by $223,514.00.  She went on to say that the Police Department ended up spending $1,500,000.00 as of June 30, 2013.  The Police Department was approved for $1,297,852.00 so that accounts for the excessive spending.

Now, here come the tough questions; Why did we NOT hear about this during the year?  It is apparent that the people were never supposed to learn this because the Finance Director has worked very hard to keep this from getting out.  How much more money has been spent that the Town Council and the people are unaware of?  I attend almost every Town Council meeting and this excessive spending or using the Undesignated Fund was never brought up during the meetings I attended. 

What else don’t we know?

Larry Fillmore