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Harbor committee steers into new year

By Susan Mustapich | Jan 12, 2021
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Camden Harbor Master Steve Pixley sees an uptick in fishing boats using the harbor this winter.

CAMDEN — At the first Harbor Committee meeting of 2021, Chairman Joshua Moore reviewed some procedures and changes that relate to a Jan. 5 Select Board discussion about the workflow and use of staff time of the town's many committees.

Since the Harbor Committee meeting also took place Jan. 5, in the morning, Moore spoke with Town Manager Audra Caler and Select Board Chairman Bob Falciani about the committee agenda item.

They talked about convening committee as need arises, and Moore was asked if the committee needs to continue to meet monthly, he said.

Moore thinks the committee should continue to meet monthly, while conducting meetings efficiently.

"We take direction from the SB in terms of what we ought to discuss and put on our agenda," he said. "We want to make sure we are discussing things that will lead to some action, and will help the Select Board with conducting those actions," Moore said. "We’re an advisory board. We offer advice on matters pertaining to the harbor."

Moore said it is best that communications come through the chair to the Select Board or town staff. He will keep committee members apprised of any communications he has with the board or staff.

Caler has had a discussion with Harbor Clerk Liz Knauer about her time, and it was determined Knauer does not need to attend the committee meetings, unless members specifically request this.

Because meetings are recorded, she can view them as needed, Moore explained.

This brought up the need for the appointment of a committee secretary to take streamlined minutes, to record any votes taken, briefly summarize discussions and list members present. Bruce Peel volunteered.

Harbor committee members commented on the proposed changes.

They agreed to move the monthly meetings to Wednesday mornings, so they would not fall on the same day as Select Board meetings. There was also a consensus that Harbor Master Steve Pixley should be first on the agenda at each meeting.

Elliott Thompson described the new structure for working with the Select Board as top down.

He asked how the committee will communicate issues that people think are important and need to be discussed.

Moore agreed Thompson's point is important. The committee would discuss the issue, and if they agree it is a valid issue or concern, would then bring this to the Select Board, to see if board members think it should be discussed. They may or may not give the Harbor Committee the go-ahead to work on these issues, he said.

Harbor Master Steve Pixley said at times he will hear about an issue from numerous individuals, and bring this to the committee.

Kathy Young would like members of the public to know they have the opportunity to join and present at Harbor Committee meetings. She called for making the process of participating as easy as possible by posting agendas and instructions on how to join and speak at committee meetings on the town website.

She asked if the committee can ask the town to add information to the website. Information is not easy to find now, and the website is not easy to use, she said.

Moore also wants the agenda on the town website.

Knauer brings a lot of information to the meetings, Ron Hawkins said, and not having her at meetings is unfortunate. Moore agreed. To address this change, the committee can ask her for information, and also to attend a discussion as needed, he said.

Pixley updated members on a repair of the hydraulic winch used by fishermen and others. The controls have broken down just before Christmas the past two years, and it is difficult to get the original installer to fix it. Jeff Zurko took care of the repair, he said.

Overnight dockage on the fishermen float is almost full, and the harbor is busier than it usually is at this time of the year, he said. There are also two non-fishermen using the float. More people walking around the harbor as well.

He replaced chains on some of the floats, prior to a December storm.

Moore asked committee members to familiarize themselves with the town's programs for memorial and sponsorship benches around the harbor. He said there is an application for a memorial bench to approve in February.

Young asked if the memorial benches for Les Bex and Sam Manning were installed.  Both men, who passed away in 2019, were an intrinsic part of Camden Harbor. For decades, Bex operated historic windjammer and tour boat cruises. Manning and his wife Susan rowed their dinghy in the harbor every day for over 40 years.

The committee had approved these, but Young had not heard the follow-up. Pixley confirmed the benches were installed and he had communicated with Bex's daughter and Manning's wife Susan about where they would be placed.

This is information Young would like the community to know, and the committee to communicate. "If we want people to be interested in the harbor, we need to let people know what we are doing," she said.

Sponsorships come about when the town takes over the annual payments for a memorial bench that has history and meaning to the community, but may be abandoned, Pixley explained. Some community members were concerned that benches could be abandoned, so a program where the Select Board can be asked to sponsor these benches was created.

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