What happened with Lovering?
City officials owe taxpayers an explanation for why Rockland Community Development Director Audrey Lovering was given four-months' salary as a payoff when she resigned at the beginning of October.
So far the details are few and far between. City officials have only made public that which they have to under Maine's Freedom of Access law.
City documents show that Lovering agreed to resign effective Oct. 10. As part of the deal, the city agrees to pay her a lump sum of $21,667 to resolve a dispute, which is not elaborated on in the document. The city also agrees to pay Lovering's attorneys $2,000 in fees and expenses.
As part of the agreement Lovering agreed not to say anything bad about the city or city employees. For its part, the city agrees to state only her dates of employment, her salary, title and that she resigned should it be contacted for a reference from another employer.
City Manager James Smith said Oct. 19 that he cannot talk about the issue because it is a personnel matter.
That may be true, but it's still unfortunate that the people of Rockland have to pay salary to an employee while that person is not providing any work for the city. Not only that, but we are expected to simply accept this with no explanation given.
At some point, a conflict arose in which Lovering felt a need for legal counsel. This conflict should have been handled in a more straightforward, above-board manner.
If someone at city hall did something wrong that led to this payout, perhaps it should have been allowed to go to court where it could be aired publicly and appropriate actions could be taken to correct the issue at city hall. If the city and its employees did nothing wrong in regards to Lovering, she shouldn't have received a large severance for resigning.
Do we now employ a city attorney to clean up messes and keep everyone quiet?
This isn't how a transparent government body should operate, and we hope questions about this will continue to haunt city officials until some answers are offered.
During this long, hard last stretch of the 2012 election campaigns, we have heard a lot of speculation about what will happen at the polls Nov. 6.
Often, the cable news network talking heads will start by saying something like, "If this group turns out to vote, it will go this way," or "If that group shows up in force Election Day, it may swing this way."
We hope everyone who is eligible will turn out Election Day. Don't expect someone else to vote your conscience. It is your duty as a citizen to participate to make democracy work.
Remember too that it was not so long ago that many in this nation could not vote or were strongly discouraged from doing so based on their gender or the color of their skin. The right to vote unhindered was hard-won. It came after struggle and sacrifice on the part of heroic civil rights leaders.
So don't take your rights and freedoms for granted. Turn out and cast your vote. You'll be proud that you did.