Former mayor bashes councilor over Facebook posts

By Tina Swanson | Sep 04, 2014
Former Mayor William Clayton disapproves of Elizabeth Dickerson's Facebook posts.

Rockland — Former Mayor William Clayton said Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson's Facebook posts are harmful for Rockland in the Sept. 3 City Council meeting.

Without naming Dickerson, Clayton criticized a councilor's social media engagement in the public comment portion of the meeting. He said he brought the issue to the attention of the council earlier, but it had not been addressed. He said also that the public should be aware of the matter and provided the media with copies of the posts.

Dickerson's comments were posted to Facebook after a closed executive session on Aug. 26. She wrote:

“Tonight I walked out of Rockland city council because I couldn't support spending upwards of 17 grand on a manager search. If I had stayed I didn't have the votes and my continued presence would have been a tacit approval. Rockland take back your city!”

Clayton said the fact that the posts were made regarding an executive session was especially concerning as executive sessions are for discussions that must remain confidential.

Dickerson's second post shown below mentioned other councilors by name, and provided details of the council's discussions, all information that should have been secret according to executive session rules. Dickerson's posts on her Facebook wall were visible to all of her “Facebook friends” making the information public.

Note that the punctuation and capitalization for emphasis is from Dickerson's original post. She wrote:

“Yeah. I was just sitting there thinking, these people have already made up their minds. Everything they are saying is justifying spending the money. I had NO IDEA it was going to be so much. They were like, well, in an 11 million dollar budget, 17 thousand isn't that much...I kept trying to say stuff but it got shoved back at me, whatever, I had to walk out. So 17 grand is the yearly salary for many people. I asked, 'How many hours does this person work for 17 grand,' Frank Isganitis said well he was a real estate broker and he made 10 grand commissions, so...Larry was going on about his 25 years of experience with this fictitious company he's always acting like he manages...I guess it really does exist somewhere on paper, but he's always like 'when we do municipal projects involving these kinds of upgrades' and I sit there and think, 'Who the hell is WE? Where ARE these people?' No one ever seems to notice that, BTW- I don't get it, how is it that no one else ever notices that this guy makes his business sound like some kind of multinational company when in fact I don't think he does more than about five hours a week of billable work- if that-Eric may have engaged in some kind of conversation with me, but his mind was so set on the money- I'm a computer scientist and I am trained to look at problems without emotion, analytically, from every angle equally. I can't deal with people who have already determined the end game.”

Dickerson was not the only one unhappy about the $17,000 expenditure for the town manager search. Three Rockland residents spoke out against spending the money on Sept. 3.

Former City Attorney Barry Faber said that according to the chairman of the Bar Harbor City Council, $5,000 is the going rate for a manager recruiter. In a letter he read on Sept. 3 he asked “Why are we paying more than three times the amount that they are paying?”

Rockland resident Steve Carroll said the City Council “can't continue to spend money we don't have.” He said his criticism applies mostly to the male members of the council. “Women are much better with money,” he said.

Faber said in his letter that we may need a new city council more than a new city manager. “A council that is not afraid to make hard decisions and will not become part of the old boys club.”

He went on to praise Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf and Dickerson as “often the only ones that represent the people.”

Courier-Gazette Reporter Tina Swanson can be reached at 207-594-4401 or tswanson@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (19)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | Sep 05, 2014 10:50

Possible approaches - wild or not so wild::  If a private firm is used for the city manager search, include the contingency in the contract that the bulk of the full payment will only be given after the city manager reaches her or his 3 rd anniversary date of employment, given that the length of stay of city managers averages 3 to 5 years.

 

Include in that contract that there will be no payout should the city manager leave prior to the 3rd anniversary date, and that the city can only fire the city manager within that 3-year period with grounds of grievous breach of position, and have what that means defined clearly in the contract.  No raises for 3-years, but with a bonus/raise after the 3-year anniversary.

 

Utilize the university system and colleges in the job search.  The problem there is that university and college career centers/alumni associations, differ little from standard job search mechanisms.  The city would demand more from them - more work on their part, to identify graduates who majored in the field, or have subsequently gained specific experience.  (On this one, I'd say, "fat chance," but I live in hope, but why don't they do their job either).

 

There are organizations like the Maine Municipal Association, and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in the job search.  Municipal concerns are their reason for existence.

 

Here is a hiring manual from the City/County Management Association, found randomly http://www.ilcma.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/356  It's just one example.  Their jobs board looks like this http://icma.org/en/icma/career_network/job_seekers/browse_jobs  Note that Las Vegas is looking for a city manager - anyone?



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Sep 05, 2014 09:32

It's always been "who you know" around here. Most generally citizens come forward only when they are personally affected. I operated a camera for a couple of years at council meetings and remember many incidents when groups of citizens attended for their own agenda and not what was best for the City as a whole. Most citizens do not want to be involved until it's too late. To my way of thinking these councilors are just citizens like the rest of us. I know it's a thankless job , one where you are placed upon a pedestal only to be knocked off. Who needs that kind of treatment in their life? It's a rare person that serves the public and doesn't get sucked into the vortex known as politics. If everyone paid their fair share and we were all treated as equals we wouldn't be in this mess. Anyone else want to beat a dead horse?



Posted by: Ann M. Flagg | Sep 05, 2014 07:16

Fully supported Lizzie.



Posted by: mark zable | Sep 05, 2014 06:22

Transparency in government is bad? So, it's not for the people, by the people? Nice to see Rockland has it's own little Wall Street going on.

 



Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Sep 05, 2014 05:33

The time has come for candidates to take out papers.  There are many residents hoping this network of the past gets broken. Several calls have been made to confirm that much of what we have been told are untrue facts when monies are being spent. This not only involves the Council but others in city Government. How many of you have followed the dog fecal story long enough to realize those two ladies were being set up to cover up a much more real and serious issue? There are people running this city that ought to consider resigning in the minds of many.  The week preceding Labor Day we observed a couple hauling large green trash bags out of the hopper with a long stick affair. They ransacked the bags and threw them over. People buying bags empty them over the side and reuse them. Not exactly what recycling is intended to be. So much money can be saved by enforcement. Paying $100,000 k for a landfill manager when we all see the lack of enforcement is being a part of the problem, not part of the solution. Hard working residents need apply. It is possible to right what has been happening. Most everyone in the city realizes what has been happening for years but we all hoped it would " go away or stop when a councilor would leave."  It is high time Rockland returns to  having a Chairperson preside over the meetings and not use the term Mayor. The Mayor of say NYC is a totally different meaning of the title than what is called for in our Charter. And no Mayor has absolute power. We need new people in charge of our budget.  If you know of someone that might have entertained this thought in the past and you respect them, ask them.  Let us locate two strong candidates who can rise to the occasion and work for the future of Rockland.



Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Sep 05, 2014 05:33

The time has come for candidates to take out papers.  There are many residents hoping this network of the past gets broken. Several calls have been made to confirm that much of what we have been told are untrue facts when monies are being spent. This not only involves the Council but others in city Government. How many of you have followed the dog fecal story long enough to realize those two ladies were being set up to cover up a much more real and serious issue? There are people running this city that ought to consider resigning in the minds of many.  The week preceding Labor Day we observed a couple hauling large green trash bags out of the hopper with a long stick affair. They ransacked the bags and threw them over. People buying bags empty them over the side and reuse them. Not exactly what recycling is intended to be. So much money can be saved by enforcement. Paying $100,000 k for a landfill manager when we all see the lack of enforcement is being a part of the problem, not part of the solution. Hard working residents need apply. It is possible to right what has been happening. Most everyone in the city realizes what has been happening for years but we all hoped it would " go away or stop when a councilor would leave."  It is high time Rockland returns to  having a Chairperson preside over the meetings and not use the term Mayor. The Mayor of say NYC is a totally different meaning of the title than what is called for in our Charter. And no Mayor has absolute power. We need new people in charge of our budget.  If you know of someone that might have entertained this thought in the past and you respect them, ask them.  Let us locate two strong candidates who can rise to the occasion and work for the future of Rockland.



Posted by: Edward D Flanagan | Sep 05, 2014 02:33

It's patently illegal in some States for Councilors to meet behind close doors (i.e. "executive sessions") without it being public record.  Let's take a look at THAT!



Posted by: Jane Flannery Hall | Sep 05, 2014 01:01

I am in support of Liz!



Posted by: ALBERT E COLSON | Sep 04, 2014 22:57

We do not need to spend 17,000.00 to look for a new manager .Rockland does not have this kind of money to spend. Liz Dickerson has every right to post what she deems fit and I for one likes to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I for one am glad this is out in the open, we need to know how the elected want to spend OUR money that we don't have in the budget. The city is a mess and more nonprofits are not the answer. Joan Colson

 

 

 



Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Sep 04, 2014 20:59

My question is why the discussion of a $17,000 payment should be held in Executive session in the first place.  Why not discuss it in public?  How much more is discussed in executive session which has no reason to be confidential or strategic.



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Sep 04, 2014 20:24

Clayton doesn't have to do anything to get elected.  With two slots open and only two candidates, it's a guarantee that both will be elected even if no one votes for them.

 

Posting on Facebook, and leaving the meeting was not what one expects of any elected official.  With every council meeting, there has been an opportunity to propose changes in all City of Rockland documents.  Doing so would have been a direct action, that might have resulted in changes that would shift the status quo.  To the best of my knowledge, that was not done by anyone.

 

I have come to believe that all those people long invested in Rockland would be bereft if they were to lose their enemies, and that no change is possible in the foreseeable future no matter who sits in the seats.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 04, 2014 20:19

This cost him my vote. Ms Dickerson has done her best to keep spending under control. May not always do it right, but she has given it a good run.



Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Sep 04, 2014 19:53

Hi there M T

 

So you would agree that this is not only a "Holier than thou" episode, but all part of Mr Clayton political campaign in trying to join the Tres Amigos at City Hall

 

Good catch!



Posted by: Richard Randall | Sep 04, 2014 19:42

They act like 17 grand is nothing. Maybe that could be a problem?



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Sep 04, 2014 19:31

Clayton was not at the executive session.  Who tipped him off about the posts.  "He said he brought the issue to the attention of the council earlier."  Earlier than what?  He's monitoring her Facebook posts?

 

Clayton is merely the chair or whatever they call it for the Rockland Republican Town Committee.  I do not think, as someone posted previously, that he is a good candidate for Council.  He had said that he wanted to have the time to spend with his children and to be a good parent.  I do not want anymore "Big Daddy" councilors or mayors, regardless of gender.  One can lead without adopting the attitude that residents are but wayward children in great need of guidance.

 

While I do not think anyone should be using Facebook, let alone politicians, blurting out all this, which most know as truth, is, minimally very funny stuff.  But I think it is inappropriate to have this photograph of Clayton as mayor.  It looks like a plug.

 

Is there still time for a people's referendum to put a cap on the spending for the city manager search?  Is there still time to get a Charter change on type of government? 



Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Sep 04, 2014 17:31

Was this "tattle tale" mission because Mr. Clayton is head of the Republican party and Ms. Dickerson is running as a Democratfor the seat she has held the past two years or is this because he is joining the system and supporting them by damning her. This "Stallion" of a Council woman who has supported lowering expenditures as our mil rate is too high might just get loose lips and sink this council. Most know already the antics that go on but as residents we can no longer overlook the issues at hand. They are huge, we are very short on funds aside from borrowing, our cash reserves are the lowest every and our spending the worst every.  As was pointed out last night, it might be we need a new Council more than a new City manager. The Mayor is totally out of line. Has been all year. He does not have the powers bestowed on him that he envisions. And the City Attorney has twice tried to use the land of Ms. Barbour and written a sale agreement for land the city does not own. The paperwork disappeared!!! A title search is a good idea when deeding property to a new owner. Well city hall also lost the deed we have for our property regarding a sewer cleanout on Lisle. Before I could produce our copy, they placed the track over the cleanout access! So much disappears!



Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Sep 04, 2014 16:51

Perfect Timing Mr Clayton!

 

At the time when people in Rockland are becoming aware of the gross mismanagement that is going on at City Hall, you walk in and shout Squirrel, squirrel; watch how Councilor Dickerson is so irresponsible by posting Council items on FB!

 

Where are your priorities/loyalties Mr Clayton? Whoops! I forgot you plan to join your Tres Amigos and keep the party going until Rockland goes belly up!

 

 



Posted by: Leslie Spiers | Sep 04, 2014 15:39

Liz Dickerson is not the only Councilor to post things on Facebook that could be deemed as in appropriate.  And I am not saying that her post was inappropriate. But before any fingers are pointed read some of the other Councilors posts. I do however agree that paying $17,000. for a new City Manager search is not necessary and not affordable by a City that continually raises taxes and chases away businesses that do pay taxes. Respectfully,

 



Posted by: Nina Reed | Sep 04, 2014 13:37

we need more li dickersons, someone that tries to save money for the tax payers. if the council members decide how tax dollars are spent then it should not be in an executive session.    patricia williams



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Tina Richey Swanson
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Tina Swanson is a Staff Reporter for the Courier-Gazette covering primarily the city of Rockland.

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