Selectmen again decline to appoint harbormaster, assistant
Lincolnville — After a lengthy discussion, Lincolnville Selectmen voted 1-4 against the appointment of a harbormaster and assistant harbormaster Aug. 11.
Selectman Jason Trundy — the lone supporting vote — asked the item be placed on the agenda again because he said he did not know of a good reason Mike Hutchings and Kendall Smith should not be reappointed to the position they have held for years. He said not approving the appointment sends a message to the public that something is wrong.
"For the Board to have these appointments sitting there feeds that we have something to hide," Trundy said.
The majority of selectmen, however, said it was not due to any actions taken by Hutchings or Smith, but due to the flawed ordinance in place. Selectman Art Durity said he would second Trundy's motion to appoint the two men, but only with an amendment to add measures to determine if goals are reached. He listed several items as part of his amendment, including improving relationships with Islesboro and avoiding the perception of a conflict of interest. Durity also sought to include full enforcement of the harbor ordinance as well as sending some harbor projects out to bid.
Trudy said enforcement often involves discretion and the ordinance does not seem to allow for that.
"I don't think this Board, or anyone, wants enforcement with a heavy hand," he said. "When you enforce something, you have to be fair across the board."
Hutchings spoke and asked several questions, particularly about sending harbor projects out to bid.
"Things break constantly. If I'm not there to fix it, how do we get it fixed quickly?" he asked. "There's a lot of logistics here."
Town Administrator David Kinney pointed out the town requires projects in excess of $8,000 to go out to bid, but if the harbormaster is directed to bid for everything, Kinney will be required to follow the direction.
"If he tells me to go to bid, I do, even if it's not in the spirit of the intent," Kinney said.
Selectmen went briefly off-topic in discussing the harbor ordinance, which they planned to discuss at at workshop Wednesday, Aug. 13, when resident Richie Osgood brought up increased residential use of the harbor and pier.
"I'm discussing his amended motion," Osgood said, responding to Selectman Rosey Gerry's comment of being off topic. "If you vote on this, you guys have just made a boo-boo."
Gerry said he was not comfortable voting on the issue until he becomes better informed about the workings of the harbor.
"Until I am enlightened, I can't vote," he said.
Hutchings objected to the suggestion the ordinance is flawed and said if things aren't enforced to the letter it is because he is trying to help someone.
"That's how the ordinance gets bent, for a good reason," he said.
Assistant Harbormaster Smith said he has been impressed with how the harbor operates and noted he, too, makes repairs and doesn't expect compensation. But having not been reappointed has left an impression, he said.
"I feel the people who hold it together are being penalized," Smith said, later adding, "if I was coming in, it looks suspicious like there's something going on."
Durity's amendment ultimately failed for lack of a second. Returning to the original motion to appoint Hutchings and Smith, Selectmen spoke about the length of the ordinance review process.
"It's going to take until next year at this time to work out this ordinance," Hutchings concurred. "It's an agonizing and long process. You just don't blunder into this thing."
The motion to appoint the two men saw only Trundy in favor.
(207) 338-3333 ext. 110
Stephanie is editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. She previously served as editor of Camden Herald following its return in April 2012.
Stephanie also was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has nearly a decade of experience in the newspaper business ranging from southern and central Maine to Waldo County.
Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.
Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and chickens.