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Showing posts with label Town Council. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Town Council. Show all posts

Friday, January 12, 2018

TOWN COUNCIL AGENDA - JANUARY 16, 2018


Thursday, January 11, 2018

LOWER THAN DIRT

 
Last Tuesday night, I attended the sub-committee meeting hosted by Councilor Norman Albert and Councilor Mark Lunt pertaining to the situation with Lisbon Emergency Services.  The purpose of the meeting was to update the members of the sub-committee on the changes Lisbon Emergency had made to their By-Laws.  The meeting was conducted with no microphones or handouts so the members of the audience could not heard a lot of what was said and without a handout could not follow along.

I have been complaining about this situation for years but our Town leadership treats citizens as second class citizens.  What I mean is they do not care if the Public hear what is going on during these Public meetings.  I listen to Councilors complain that not many citizens take an interest in what is going on in town.  Well, when you are treated in this manner it is hard to maintain an interest when you cannot hear and no one cares.  Also, I have attended numerous briefing during my forty years working for the government and I never sat through a briefing that I could not hear everything said and I always had a handout in which to follow along.  At the end of classified briefings, the handouts were gathers back up and destroyed.
 
I have complained to our leadership on numerous occasions and they really do not care if they are professional or not.  This is just one of several reasons; I do not attend Town Council meetings.  If our leadership is not interested in what I have to say, then I am wasting my time attending.  Most of every Town Council meeting has been decided the outcome before the meeting so it is only a formality any ways.
 
Now, some can say that the By-Laws of Lisbon Emergency belong to Lisbon Emergency’s.  However, if the Town of Lisbon is hosting the meeting and Lisbon Emergency is asking for the taxpayers to supplement Lisbon Emergency; the taxpayers have a right to see the documents being discussed.  Just call me old fashion!  It is my personal opinion, that if you conduct a meeting in the town office and invite the Public; they should have handouts available to follow along.  If you do not want the people to attend and if you do not care if they hear or know what is going on; then stay out of our pockets to.  In other words, the citizens of Lisbon are being asked to pay for something but do not have a right to see and know what they are being forced pay for.
 
When is our leadership going to start treating its citizens like people, again?
 
Larry Fillmore

 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

YOU BE THE JUDGE!!!!!


On December 19, 2017, our loved Town Council performed yet another illegal Executive Session.  This is exactly the same way it was when Councilor LaRochelle was on the Town Council the last time.  At least they waited until the second meeting to start again.  I believe that before you can be a Councilor you must know how to read.  Since the oath of office they take, requires you to obey the laws of the State of Maine; each Councilor should know the law pertaining to Executive Sessions.  Maine Statue 405, Executive Sessions is only three pages long and outlines what can and cannot be discussed behind closed door.
 
Paragraph 6, Permitted deliberation, states “Deliberations on ONLY the following matters may be conducted during an executive session:”   It goes on to outline 8 sub-paragraphs for which an Executive Session is authorized.  Sub-paragraph C. reads “Discussion or consideration of the condition, acquisition or the use of real or personal property permanently attached to real property or interests therein or disposition of publicly held property or economic development ONLY IF PREMATURE DISCLOSURES OF THE INFORMATION WOULD PREJUDICE THE COMPETITIVES OR BARGAINING POSITION OF THE BODY OR AGENCY.”  The last portion of this provision is the most critical because it outlines when this sub-paragraph can be used for an Executive Session.
 
On December 19, 2017, the Town Council when into Executive Session under the above cited sub-paragraph and when they came out Councilor Kolbe read a prepared motion that read: “Move to loan $146,940.00 with a 10-year term at an interest rate of 5% to Jason LaVerdiere and Tyson LaVerdiere doing business as Flux Restaurant as followers:  $100,000.00 from the IRP fund and $46,940.00 from the Commercial Loan Fund.”  This was the only application for the Revolving Loan Fund program so where is the competition.  How is approval of the only application going to change the bargaining position or going to be changed if this information was released?  The loan application does NOT meet the criteria for Executive Session under the provisions of Maine Statue 405.  I support the approval of the loan application BUT not in the manner it was done.
 
This Town Council meeting is only Councilor LaRochelle’s second meeting.  It would appear that the community is in for three more years of back-door dealings and illegal Executive Sessions.
 
Call your Councilors and tell them to stop these illegal Executive Session and start complying with the law by discussing them in Public.
 
Larry Fillmore

Saturday, December 16, 2017

LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday night will begin the downfall of the community, again.  I am surprised it took until the second meeting with Fern LaRochelle to start.  On Tuesday agenda, there is an item under Executive Session, called Acquisition of Real Property or Economy Development.  Executive Session is where Fern LaRochelle does most of his wheeling and dealing because it is in SECRET.  No one can ever know what goes on behind closed doors.
 
Information put out in Executive Session pertaining to real property or anything that pertains to the bid process is restricted to ONLY Councilors.  I call this “insider information” because none of the other individuals that want to bid on the subject matter know what was discussed in Executive Session but Councilors are allowed to bid as private citizens.  Once again, there is no “conflict of interest” but ONLY in Lisbon.
 
No Councilor should be able to take part on anything discussed behind closed doors because it gives them an unfair advantage.  Fern LaRochelle has taken advantage of this in the pass when he purchased town property at a reduced price.  Having insider information provides Councilors with an advantage. 
 
I am shocked that the Chairman of the Town Council and the Town Manager waited until the second meeting to start this trend all over again.
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

WWW.LISBONME.ORG


If you are wondering what “www.lisbonme.org” is; it is the address for the Lisbon town website.  The purpose of this website is to keep the people informed as to what is going on in Lisbon, Maine.  It should be an attempt to provide transparency for our local government.  However, as Mr. Joe Hill noted in his great article titled “Lisbon Has An Ongoing Problem Notifying Residents” no matter how many times residents complain nothing gets changed.
 
This is a shame because the solution is quite simple.  All scheduled meeting must be posted to the “Event” calendar on the Home page. I am going to provide two solutions to the problem:
 
Option 1:  Make the Councilor, who is responsible for the Board/Committee, responsible for posting the meeting/cancellation to the “Event” calendar.
 
Option 2:  Make the Councilor, who is responsible for the Board/Committee, responsible to notify the Town Manager’s Administrative Assistant to all meetings/cancellations.  This will ensure they are posted to the “Event” calendar on the town website.
 
This simple change will ensure that citizens have one location to be informed about ALL meetings.  This way the people can choose which meetings they want to attend and have an interest in.  However, before the town can implement these changes; they must first post all the Boards/Committees/Sub-Committees on the town website under the section called “Boards/Committees”.  Currently, the website ONLY lists 9 of the 18 Boards/Committees listed under “Council Committee Assignments”.  The Town Manager needs to ensure that all Boards/Committees/Sub-Committees are listed under the section called “Board/Committees”.
 
These simple changes will ensure that the people of Lisbon are kept informed and will show transparency.  By the way, taxpayers are paying tax dollars for the town website so why are we NOT using the site for what it was intended to do.  By selectively posting just what management want the people to see; the town is censoring what the people can and cannot have for information. So why are we wasting tax dollars on a web site that is NOT providing what we need?
 
Call your Councilors and ask them why the town is wasting tax dollars?  Also ask your Councilors; “Who has oversight over the posting of the town website”?
 
Larry Fillmore

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lisbon Has An Ongoing Problem Notifying Residents.

Last week's article by Larry Fillmore reminded me of a frustrating incident I had last winter.

Last January or February after braving a rather nasty snow/sleet storm  I arrived at Town Hall to find the advertised Council Meeting had been canceled. This cancellation was not noted on the outside electronic board or on the Town Web Site.   

On the return two miles drive back to my home, I wondered if the Town of Lisbon could be held partially liable if someone had a serious accident driving to or from this canceled meeting.  Bartenders can be held liable if they give an inebriated person excessive alcohol that causes an accident. Could Lisbon be held liable if they are the reason an accident victim is driving to or from a canceled meeting.  -- Probably not---

In my humble opinion, Lisbon has a serious ongoing problem keeping residents apprised of  Town Meetings, Cancellations, Informational material for meetings as well as updated budget information.  It would only take a minute to update the Town's Website or send an E-mail to notify residents of any meetings or changes to meetings.

By not keeping the residents notified of ongoing town business the Council is speaking volumes about the way they view residents.

They are silently saying to each and every resident:
  •  We don't respect you enough to keep you informed.
  •  We tell you we want you at meetings but we really can't be bothered to actually do the work to notify you.

How many times since 2010 have you heard someone complain that all the documentation for the Council Meeting isn't available on the Website?  I have heard this complaint dozens of times. Usually, someone will post the information a few days later 
when the Council has already voted on the measure.

If Councilors can't be bothered to keep residents informed why should residents respect and help the Council?  This respect goes both ways.

Respectfully
Joe Hill
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

HE’ssssss BACK!!!!!!!

Well, the people have spoken and re-elected Fern LaRochelle to the Town Council, again.  I am NOT a fan of Fern LaRochelle and this article is my personal opinion.  It was not bad enough that when he was on the Town Council before; there were back door meetings, numerous actions was conducted in Executive Session and Fern conducted secret meetings with the Millers over the Worumbo Mill property.  I believe Fern also took advantage of his position on the Town Council to purchase town owned property at a reduced price.  I call this “insider information” but to everyone else he was legal as a citizen.
 
As you can tell, I believe that Fern is part of the problem and not the solution.  Take the Lisbon Communication Center as a prime example, Fern lobbied hard to keep it in Lisbon instead of closing it and utilizing the Androscoggin County Dispatch at a savings to the taxpayer of roughly $200,000.00.  This was strictly a political decision, instead of a sound logical decision, with the best interest of the community being first.  Currently, the Lisbon Communication Center cost the taxpayers of Lisbon over $300,000.00 a year; money that could be better used to improve the community.  Fern did this as a sub-contractor of the town for wrecker/vehicle recovery service.
 
Why do I bring this out, yet again, it is because the first thing Fern did was appoint himself as the Councilor to the Public Safety Committee. This means he has a say in the Lisbon Communication Center which dispatches wrecker/vehicle recovery service for the town.  I believe this would be concerned a “conflict of interest” anywhere else except Lisbon.
 
Also, it is my opinion the length of the Town Council meetings will increase two fold because Fern likes to hear himself talk.  He is always saying “At the end of the day”.  So for the next three years, I believe that Fern will be wheeling and dealing and costing the town more money than it needs to spend.  In my opinion, Fern LaRochelle is a primary member of the “good old boys network/political machine” of Lisbon.
 
This is my personal opinion but I believe that Fern LaRochelle has to screw his pants on in the morning.
 
Larry Fillmore

 

Friday, November 17, 2017

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA FOR NOVEMBER 21, 2017



CITIZENS OF LISBON AND BOWDOIN WAKE UP!!!!!

 
Last Wednesday night, I attended HALF a meeting on the issue of the Lisbon Emergency situation.  However, upon arrival at 06:40 PM, I learned the meeting had already started.  It was on the town website as starting at 0700 PM.  I have no idea what time it really started but I missed a discussion on the Request for Procurement (RFP).  The last meeting was cancelled (without notice to the Public) because they had not received a response to the RFP.  I came to see what was in the RFP’s.  Apparently, I missed that whole discussion.  It would be nice if you could believe the town website.
 
I think I should catch everyone on up on what is going on with Lisbon Emergency.  Lisbon Emergency, Inc. is operating at a loss.  They are asking the taxpayer of Lisbon and Bowdoin to bail them out with additional funds.  Check out the chart below:
 
FY                    TOTAL CHARGES   LISBON SHARE   BOWDOIN SHARE
2018-2019     $162,152.78           $127,884.46        $34,267.92
2019-2020     $187,762.90           $149,172.84        $39,590.06
2020-2021     $251,354.03           $199,245.74        $52,108.29
 
This is to maintain the current level of service to our communities.
 
I have utilized Lisbon Emergency several times this year and the service I have received was outstanding.  The Emergency Medical Technician’s (EMT) were very professional and very efficiency.  There is no question Lisbon Emergency is a valuable asset to our communities.  Without their service, our communities would have to wait for ambulance service (United Ambulance Service) to come from Russell Street in Lewiston.  Utilizing United Ambulance Service would not cost the towns anything but there will certainly be a delay.   CAN WE AFFORD THE DELAY?
 
When I asked if Lisbon Emergency had looked into alternative solutions before these towns bail them out; I was immediately informed by Chairman Ward this is NOT a bailout.  I do not understand why this is not a bailout.  Lisbon Emergency is a private business, providing a service to these towns, and are asking the taxpayer to add additional funds to their revenue to operate.  HOW IS THIS NOT A BAILOUT?
 
This is a real tough situation because if the taxpayers do not come up with the additional funds; Lisbon Emergency will have to shut down and United Ambulance Service will have to provide citizens with emergency medical services.  This is a critical situation that directly affects the lives of every person in both communities.  Bowdoin has a town meeting in March and will vote on it.  However, Lisbon does not have a town meeting to decide these issues;  I believe because everyone in Lisbon is affected by this issue; it should be decided by a vote of the citizens and NOT left up to the Town Council.  This is just too important.
 
Think about where the money is going to come from?  The town of Lisbon is currently wasting over $200,000.00 by keeping the Communication Center open instead of using the Androscoggin County Dispatch center.  This was a political decision instead of a logical one.  CAN WE AFFORD TO SUPPORT BOTH?
 
Larry Fillmore

 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NOT A CLUE!!!!


On October 25, 2017, Dorothy Fitzgerald and myself arrived at the town Office to attend a meeting of the sub-committee on Emergency Medical Service in Lisbon announced by Councilor Norman Albert at the October 3, 2017 Town Council meeting.  I was greeted by the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, who informed me the meeting was cancelled until the Request for Procurement (RFP) was received.  I asked Mrs. Barnes why there was no notification of the cancellation posted anywhere and was informed she notified the sub-committee members.  I asked why she did not notify the people of the cancellation.
 
According to Mrs. Barnes, she does not notify the people of sub-committee cancellations.  So Dottie and I wasted our time; thinking we were going to attend an EMS that was cancelled without notifying the people.  This I see as a problem that has a simple solution; so I contacted Chairman Allen Ward of the Town Council and offered the following solution:
 
“The town has a web site that has an "Event" calendar on it.  Every Chairman of ANY committee/sub-committee should be required to notify Diane of the schedule or cancellation of any meeting open to the Public.  One of the many purposes of the web site is to keep the people informed.
 
There is no real reason why the people are being held in the dark when the town is supposed to be transparent.
 
The town council needs to insists on transparency when it comes to the people.”
 
I did not receive a response from Chairman Allen Ward but did receive a response from the Town Manager, Diane Barnes in which she said:
 
“I did not post the meeting on our website therefore, there I did not post the cancellation.  I was the one that notified the committee members that the meeting was canceled.
 
To me, Mrs. Barnes response does not address the problem or the solution I offered.  This means that the people are not being kept informed on issues that concern them.  I call this a deliberate act of concealing meetings from the people; that shows a lack of transparency by the Town Manager.
 
However, tonight I noticed an EMS meeting scheduled on the Town Website for next Wednesday so maybe someone DID get the message.  We will have to wait and see how long this last.
 
Larry Fillmore

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My Right to Support the Candidate of MY Choice

 
Some one is taking away my right to support the candidate of my choice.

 I support Scott Gaisson in his running for the Maine House of Representatives
He would work hard for the citizens of Lisbon and the State of Maine.
When I found that he was running I asked him if he would place one of his
political signs in on my property, which he or one of his supporters did.
 
A sign for Mr.. Gaisson's opponent, Rick Mason, was placed on my neighbor's property
weeks ago. I respect that my neighbor has a right to support a candidate
of his choice and place a sign on his property.
 

A little over a week ago someone removed Scott Gaisson's sign, from my property.
I found it in the middle of the road, in the School Street, Route 196 intersection,
badly damaged after being run over by numerous vehicles. 

I found the sign and put it again on the wire stand. A few days later Mr.. Gaisson
replaced the damaged sign with a new one.

Sometime  between Friday evening and Saturday morning Scott Gaisson's
sign was again stolen.

Not only was Scott Gaisson's sign missing, but a second one for his opponent
was placed on my neighbor's property.
 
I called the Lisbon Police Department and reported that a political sign was stolen,
not once but twice. The police office who responded suggested that the sign on my property
was taken by teenagers.

Kids who had a new sign to place on my neighbor's property at the same time. 

                Really??????????         This is improper politics at it's worst.   
 
Someone is taking away my right to support the candidate of my choice for the Maine 
House of Representative.
 
I am asking that whoever removed Scott's sign do the right thing and bring it back,
no questions asked.  
 
And no, I am not even suggesting that my neighbor removed the sign from my property. 
He and I have more respect for each other that that.

 TO TAKE DOWN, REMOVE, DAMAGE A POLITICAL SIGN IS AGAINST THE LAW




 
Respectfully,
Dot Fitzgerald
A Lisbon Concerned Citizen

Sunday, October 8, 2017

WHO IS LOOK OUT FOR LISBON’S TAXPAYERS?

 
After reviewing our latest Town Council meeting, I am wondering who is looking out for the taxpayers and our money.  Back on September 19, 2017, the Council approved a ¾ vehicle for the Sewer Department in the amount of $25,843.00.  Now on October 3, 2017, the Council approved another ¾ ton vehicle for Public Works Department in the amount of $16,159.00 tax dollars.  I would appear that Mr. Leighton can get whatever he wants with our tax dollars.  These two vehicles were NOT budgeted previously, go figure.
 
Apparently Mr. Leighton needs larger vehicles in order to transport his golf clubs instead of protecting our citizens.  I am so tired of Mr. Leighton wasting our tax dollars on more “toys for the boys” instead of looking out for the safety of the people.  Look below:



 
These are pictures of the signs along the Route 196 corridor.  As you can see most of them cannot be read.  How is our Police Department going to enforce the “No Parking” when no one can read the signs?  These signs were put in as part of a safety initiative.  Apparently, there is no longer a safety issue along the Route 196 corridor.  These weather beaten signs run pretty close to the full length of Route 196; some are readable but the majority is NOT. 
 
The money Mr. Leighton wastes on vehicles could be spent to replace these signs.  Where are Mayor Fern LaRochelle and the Route 196 Committee, or Tracy Steuber, Economy Community Director, or Mr. Ross Cunningham, from Positive Change Lisbon?  Each of these individuals claims to be trying to improve the community.  The Route 196 corridor is heavily travelled daily; so these signs are seen by many.  What impression does one get after reviewing these signs?  Does it reflect how the community takes care of its citizens or that they do not care?
 
The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, and the Town Council approve anything Mr. Ryan Leighton puts before them.  No one bother to check for sure they are needed but why two vehicles?  The vehicles purchased before were from the State Actions for considerable less and served this community very well.  All of a sudden that option is no longer available.  Mr. Ryan Leighton is the largest BS artist in this town, now that Chief Brooks has left.
 
Our Town Council needs to review all purchases closer and look for other options before spending our tax dollars; instead of taking the Town Manager and Ryan Leighton’s word.
 
Larry Fillmore