Warren selectman to forgo pay in other town duties
Warren — At his first meeting April 2, newly elected selectman Bill Lufkin, who also is a town firefighter and on the Warren Ambulance Service, announced he would go without pay for those positions, after a concern was raised about a town policy.
The policy in question states that all employees should refrain from becoming a candidate for election to a town office with the exception of the school board.
It was brought to light prior to the election held March 24. Town Attorney William Kelly was asked to look into the policy's enforceability, according to Town Manager Elaine Clark.
"Having served the town of Warren for almost all of my adult life, I find it difficult to believe that the intent of Town of Warren Personnel Policy Section 3.06C was to make it more difficult for a resident to volunteer to serve their community," Lufkin read from a prepared statement at the meeting.
Lufkin joined the Warren Fire Department in 1970, and continues to serve. He spent 28 years as assistant fire chief. He also became a licensed Maine Emergency Medical Technician in 2000 with the Warren Ambulance Service, and continues in that voluntary capacity.
Lufkin also has served two previous terms on the Board of Selectmen, once in the mid-1970s and again about 10 years ago, which included two years as chairman. This issue was never brought up in the past.
Kelly concluded, based on Maine case law, that the policy was enforceable and prohibited a paid employee from serving as a selectman. He also concluded the prohibition was not applicable to an "unpaid" volunteer.
The Warren Ambulance Service personnel — although volunteer — is paid when they are called out.
"Therefore, I will continue to serve on the Warren Fire Department and Warren Ambulance Service as I have in the past, but will do so without pay from the time I was elected until such time as the policy is changed or my term as selectman is over," stated Lufkin.
He did request his fellow board members put the policy on its agenda for further review and/or amendment in the near future.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.