After voting to consider new candidates to attend to the town's legal matters March 11, the Thomaston Board of Selectmen affirmed April 8 that Paul Gibbons is still the town's attorney.

At the March 11 meeting, while discussing town warrants to be signed, Selectman Beverly St. Clair questioned legal fees stemming from preparation for an information meeting held last October to discuss the town offices' move to the former Lura Libby facility.

Saying the expenditure "doesn't seem to be a wise way to spend the town's money," St. Clair moved that the board consider new options for a town attorney.

After a second from Selectman Bill Hahn, the board voted 4-0-1, with Selectman Lee-Ann Upham abstaining, to seek new representation.

However, at the April 8 meeting, with Gibbons present, Chairman Peter Lammert explained that he had been at another meeting in a different town and it was mentioned that Thomaston had gotten rid of Gibbons.

Lammert said misinformation led to that statement, and added, "Until that day occurs, I want to affirm that Paul Gibbons is our town attorney."

St. Clair pointed out that the motion made at the March 11 meeting wasn't to replace Gibbons, but rather to look over other considerations. "Paul has been our attorney for 26 years, so it's certainly not inappropriate to take a look at that," she said.

"It wasn't firing Paul," St. Clair added. "it was some misinterpretation, but not from that motion — I think the motion was very clear." She said she had researched which attorneys other area towns use and noted some of the peer reviews.

Gibbons said comparing names given by other towns, in his opinion, was not the right thing to do. "What you do is bid it out … and see who's the most experienced and competitive financially," he said, "and they'll represent to you what they can do and what they can't do."

"If the Board of Selectmen decide you want a new town attorney, OK, but you should bid it out," Gibbons added.

Resident Ann Perkins pulled up Maine Municipal Attorneys and said there is a whole list of attorneys for comparison. "Sometimes you need to compare and see if you're getting the best value for your money," she said.

Board members Lammert, Upham and Peter McCrea voted in favor of the affirmation, while St. Clair was opposed. Hahn was absent.

The board's next regular meeting is Monday, April 22.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.