Wednesday, January 16, 2019
At last night’s Town Council workshop, the subject of the morale of the town employee’s was discussed. There was talked about having an employee appreciation day at Beaver Park, which is an excellent start. It is a shame the Town Council is so blind to the obvious. The reason employee’s morale is so low, as I see it, is twofold: (1) The lack of leadership and (2) all employees being treated the same.
I think the lack of leadership is self-explanatory. So I will move on to the second point and that is rewarding, the good and bad, employees with the same pay raises. This is done every year by the Town Council, recommended by the Town Manager, approving Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) for all town employees. This is probably the dumbest idea anyone ever came up with.
The employee who is work the hardest and trying to improve themselves are compensated at the same rate as the employee who is enrolled in the Retired on Active Duty (ROAD). The road program means that they are doing just enough to get by or less and being rewarded the same as someone working to improve the quality of service residents deserve.
The reason the town approves COLA is because all town employees are rewarded by the same percentage but the pay raises are never the same. The percentage is based on the current salary and this stupid program applies to wage workers and management personnel the same. An example of this is the Town Manager; whose annual salary is over $90,000.00, receives a 2% COLA increase of $1,800.00 while a wage worker earning $40,000.00 receives only $800.00 a year increase. How can anyone justify this? Management positions should never be included in COLA increases in this town.
If you want to raise the morale of the employees in town, they need to start rewarding ONLY the good employees who are working the hardest. This is rewarding the good employees and hopefully encourages the poorer employees to work harder. Another method is to have each department nominate an employee for “Employee of the Month” and “Employee of the Year”. With both these positions, comes a small increase in their pay or time off. This will recognize these employees and hopefully push other employees to improve.
There are numerous methods to boost morale in the town. The problem is the leadership has to first to acknowledge the problem exists and then come up with a plan to address the situation.
I understand because I have recommended a number of solutions, they will never be considered, which is too bad.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Sunday, January 6, 2019
When the management of our town continues to waste thousands and thousands of our tax dollars every year, it is no wonder our taxes continue to rise. Whenever the citizens of Lisbon decide enough is enough, they need to contact the Town Council and demand a stop to wasting our tax dollars. I recommend as a subject matter expert that the Town Council stop wasting our tax dollars and pay the $168,000.00 to have professionals convert the town from TRIO to MUNIS so the town can move on. From my limited experience with TRIO, it is a lousy software package that allows management to hide money.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
I reviewed Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting for December 4, 2018 and was surprised to see Councilor LaRochelle being nominated for the position of Chairman of the Town Council. This just demonstrates members of the Town Council have not read or do not understand what the town Charter says.
Monday, December 3, 2018
Friday, November 9, 2018
Now that we have elected the same individuals to the Town Council, we can expect the same results from them. This is to say that the new Council will continue to spend our TAX DOLLARS instead of making any attempt to reduce the operating cost of the town which in turn would reduce the taxes on its residents.
(2) Eliminating Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) every year would save approximately $100,000.00 every year.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
After the Town Council meeting of October 2, 2018, Executive Session, the Town Council approved the purchase of the Worumbo Mill property. The motion was made by Councilor Kolbe and seconded by Councilor LaRochelle moved that the Town enter into an agreement for purchase of real estate at 1 Canal Street, Tax Map U05, Lot 14 with payment for the real estate not to exceed $30,000.00 contingent upon the town entering into an agreement to obtain access to the real estate for purposes of conducting environmental assessment; and contingent on the results of said environmental assessment, and that the Town Manager be authorized to negotiate the final terms of the agreements and to execute the agreements and all related documents on behalf of the Town.
On the agenda of the Conservation Commission meeting of October 18, 2018, this purchase was to be discussed. However, I contacted a member of the commission and it was never discussed. I contacted the Town Manager, Mrs. Diane Barnes, on November 1, 2018 and learned quite a bit of information I want to share with residents of Lisbon.
According to Mrs. Barnes, the town has received a Brownfield grant of $200,000.00 for the purpose of conducting Phase I and II environmental assessments. These funds will be used to conduct assessment on the property at 1 Canal Street. This assessment is broken down into two Phases. Phase I is a review of all the documentation (which includes the Maine Environmental Protection Agency’s report from years ago) and Phase II is an analysis of the soil. The town has entered into an agreement with a company called TRC to perform Phase 1 and 2 on October 31, 2018. Phase 1 will begin next month and Phase 2 will begin in the spring.I am concerned because the last time Councilor Fern LaRochelle was on the Town Council; he tried to have the town purchase this same property from the Millers. This original deal was behind closed doors, in Executive Session, but the people voted NOT to purchase the property. I believe that this was due to the fact of the Maine Environmental Protection Agency report on toxic material under the surface and the fact it is in a flood zone.
Now, Councilor LaRochelle is back on the Town Council and the purchase of this property comes up again. I am concerned because I do not feel the people are being provided ALL the facts here. According to Mrs. Barnes, the Town wants to purchase this property to put a parking lot on it to service the downtown area. As you know from previous letters, I personally do not trust Fern LaRochelle. This is just me and my opinion. It is strange that the ONLY time this property comes up is when he is on the Town Council.
As I learn more about this property and its purchase, I will pass it along to the people.
Friday, October 26, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018
Over the weekend, I had the misfortune to review the Town Council meeting of October 16, 2018. The meeting lasted two hours and twelve minutes. It should have taken an hour. Instead we have two Councilors trying to outdo each other in stupidity.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
It is truly amazing to me how Councilors on our Town Council can negotiate the purchase of property, the tax dollars being spent, environmental studies and more. Then turn around and purchase the property from the town for a song and turn around and make a profit. I call this abuse of their position. Currently, we have two Councilors that, I believe, fall into this category.
Friday, October 12, 2018
By now everyone has received the information sheet published by the town pertaining to the bonds everyone will be voting on November 6, 2018. Naturally, this information sheet was sent out after some absentee ballots were issued. Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think.
This is yet another example of the town spending money. They have absolutely no problems spending our tax dollars but you never see any councilor trying to save our tax dollars by reducing the town’s operating cost.
If one was to pay attention to documents associated with the Town Council agenda for October 16, 2018, they would have noticed that the last paragraph of the Police Department’s report states that come January 2019, the Lisbon Communication Center will no longer be performing dispatching for Durham. If I remember correctly, that leaves only Lisbon performing dispatching for Lisbon. This means the taxpayers have to pay for the entire Lisbon Communication Center which was budgeted for $345,246.00.
Several years ago, Councilors Garrison and Pesce conducted a survey and determined that by joining the Androscoggin County Dispatch, the town could save at least $200,000.00 per year. However, the Town Council voted 4-3 not to join Androscoggin County Dispatch and again the following year the Town Council voted 4-3 not to join Androscoggin County Dispatch.
The reason provided was that the Town Council did not want to give up control to Androscoggin County Dispatch. This effort both times was spearheaded by Fern LaRochelle who neglected to inform everyone that he was and is a subcontractor of the town who works directly with the Lisbon Communication Center. In my eyes, this was then and still is a conflict of interest that he should have revealed at the time. Now that he is once again a Councilor, he should recuse himself from any vote on this issue, if it ever came up again.
This is an excellent way for the town to save at least $200,000.00 tax dollars and no one is willing to look into saving taxpayers any money, just spending. It has been proven that letting Androscoggin County Dispatch perform our 911 calls if a much more efficient and at a cost savings to taxpayers.
I can almost guarantee you that this will never happen because it makes sense and it is the right thing to do. No one, from the Town Manager or the Town Council wants to do away with Chief David Brooks’ legacy. This has nothing to do with logic; it is strictly a political decision. Well, political decisions do not pay the bills or provide for taxpayers’ family.
So tell me again, why is our Councilors NOT looking for way to save our money?