Former mayor bashes councilor over 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.