Planning Board member questions denial of reappointment

By Beth A. Birmingham | Aug 11, 2017
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Seth Hall, former planning board chairman, reads a statement to Waldoboro Selectmen Aug. 8. Hall has complained about not being reappointed to the planning board.

Waldoboro — Past Waldoboro Planning Board Chairman Seth Hall, who has been complaining about not being reappointed to the board since the selectmen's announcement July 25, reiterated his disapproval during the board's Aug. 8 meeting.

Hall, who joined the Planning Board in March 2014 and was entering his fourth year as chairman, initially requested a formal hearing to discuss the selectmen's decision regarding his "abrupt and rather surprising removal from the Planning Board."

He noted he was also "removed" from the Communications Technology Committee, of which he was a founding member.

"I certainly do want the public to be aware of what seems to be going on, but I don't want to come across as being petty, or a sore loser, which I am not," Hall stated in a July 31 letter to The Courier-Gazette.

Hall said the town has not followed official policy with regard to appointments to committees and boards, and requested Town Manager Julie Keizer to "make the select board aware of their procedural error ... and take steps to have them invalidate the appointments they made at their July 25 meeting."

With regard to Hall's complaint that the board did not follow town policy, he noted the amendment the selectmen made to the Committee Interview Policy at their June 27 meeting, which states: "the board voted 5-0 to change the Committee Interview Policy to include only those that are new to a committee."

Hall said the select board violated the new policy by requiring him to interview for reappointment to the planning board, "which I did willingly, albeit somewhat suspiciously."

He further noted the procedural error the Select Board made was not following the required public notification procedure for appointments to boards and committees, as outlined in the town's Boards & Commissions Policy.

“The Town failed to publish the required two notifications in the Lincoln County News, as explicitly required by the policy,” Hall said. “The Town Manager admitted that the town had failed to make proper notification, but that the town had not complied with this policy for the past five years, and therefore saw no reason to comply with it this year. You go figure.”

In response to Hall's claim of improper publication of the openings, Keizer said she believed the policy was intended to ensure there is public notice of the positions.

"We published only once, and it was on the website," she said, "and we did have more candidates than positions, so obviously the public was informed."

At the Aug. 8 meeting, Keizer clarified to Hall, "You weren't removed; you simply weren't reappointed ... and that is a key point."

Keizer went on to explain that she had contacted the town's attorney at the law firm of Bernstein Shur, who confirmed that the matter does not entitle Hall to a public hearing and is not a legal matter.

"We had more people than seats for the appointments," she said. "It offers more opportunity for people to serve."

Keizer said in an interview Aug.11 that the board felt the need to interview each applicant in this case.

"Under Maine Law, a municipal appointee is not legally entitled to be reappointed upon expiration of his or her term. It's within the appointing authorities' discretion," according to the Maine Municipal Association legal services department.

In a statement Hall sent to local media following the meeting, he said, "It appears that the select board has circled their wagons and intends to do nothing. While this is pretty disappointing, it is not surprising."

"I am not sure what further I can do to bring light into some of the dark places in Waldoboro politics ... I'd likely just be painted as a sore loser," he said.

Keizer said the procedure was for all applicants to turn in their papers and then be interviewed, with recommendations being made before the full board voted on it.

"If he [Hall] were removed for cause, that's a totally different animal," Keizer said in the telephone interview.

There were three applicants for two positions, and the board voted unanimously to appoint Scott Simpson as a returning member and Tara Pelotte, a new applicant.

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

Comments (1)
Posted by: Charlotte Davenhill | Aug 14, 2017 08:21

"Old age and treachery can defeat youth and skill." -- anonymous quote found on a cocktail napkin



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