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Selectman resigns, Thomaston holds town meeting

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jun 13, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Moderator Mike Mayo, standing at right, conducts a hand-count on an article dealing with transferring town land to the Village Cemetery during Thomaston's town meeting June 12.

Thomaston — The selectman at the center of recent controversy in town government, Beverly St. Clair, has resigned.

This news comes as the town voted on its annual business June 12 at town meeting with more than 100 in attendance.

Town Clerk Kara George began the meeting by swearing in Bill Hahn and Sandra Moore as selectmen, and announcing that although Scott Johnson was elected to the Board of Assessors, he had declined the appointment.

Johnson turned in his resignation letter to the Board of Selectmen and Town Office earlier June 12, stating, "In consideration of all that has taken place politically against me and my business ... I feel it would be best for all involved if I respectfully withdraw."

Another letter of resignation received by the board was from St. Clair, in which she said, "It is with regret that I respectfully submit my resignation from the position of Selectwoman, effective immediately."

"As Ms. St. Clair was appointed the selectboard representative to the 3-town solid waste board, she effectively has resigned from that position as well as the personnel board," Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter Lammert said in an email June 14.

St. Clair's absence from the meeting was noticeable, as were the empty seats of Budget Committee members Anne Perkins and Patricia Hubbard.

Hubbard and Charlie Frattini were defeated at the polls in their quest to become selectmen. Frattini was not present at the meeting, either.

Lammert presented an award and a sign to Anita Knowlton for her 35 years of service to the town. He also acknowledged Peter McCrea, who was attending his last meeting as selectman.

Voters approved the 2019-2020 municipal budget of $3,585,401, an increase of 4.13 percent over last year. However, union negotiations remain ongoing, as a tentative offer has not yet been accepted.

Moderator Mike Mayo went through some of the procedural items to start, explaining that because of the vote at the polls June 11, a couple of articles needed to be handled differently.

An article seeking voter approval to add a portion of town property west of Anna Belle Lane to the Village Cemetery and seek requests for bids for potential developers to lease and to construct and operate a crematorium was hotly debated again this year.

After hearing from resident John Smith, who owns property abutting the proposed land and said a crematorium would devalue his property, Mike Hall of Hall Funeral Homes spoke of the desire to "make a natural extension" of the care his business offers.

Hahn noted the article simply allows the selectmen and town to investigate who would be interested in the property, while Planning Board member Joanne Richards explained that before any development could occur it would have to be voted on by the people again.

After nearly a half-hour of debate, the question was called and only a hand-count of the meeting was necessary — with 77 voting to pass the article and 32 voting against.

A delicate topic, but one that generated several bouts of laughter, was an amendment to the Thomaston Village Cemetery Ordinance that would indemnify and save the town from liability "should the dead human body be buried in the wrong burial lot."

Lammert, who serves as the town's cemetery sexton, explained one instance of a close call and clarified also that there can be one human body and three cremated remains placed on one cemetery lot.

The total budget includes reinstatement of the board's stipends of $11,925, plus a 3 percent wage increase for full-time employees.

At a workshop June 17, the selectmen agreed to seek advice from Don Gerrish, a consultant with Eaton Peabody in Bangor, on hiring an Interim town manager and searching for a new permanent manager.

Those interested in serving on the Search Committee should fill out an application form, which can be found on the town website, and email it to Clerk Kara George at thomclerk@midcoast.com.

The next meeting of the board will be Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m. in Watts Hall.

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

Town Clerk Kara George, left, swears in Bill Hahn and Sandra Moore, who were elected to the Thomaston Board of Selectmen at the polls June 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Chairman Peter Lammert, left, presents an award and poster to Anita Knowlton for her 35 years of service to the town of Thomaston. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Selectmen Lee-Ann Upham, left, and Peter McCrea vote on an article during Thomaston's town meeting June 12. Next to McCrea is the empty seat of Selectman Beverly St. Clair, who has resigned from the board, effective immediately. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Thomaston resident Bill Eberle speaks in favor of the idea of a crematorium in the Village Cemetery during the town meeting June 12. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Mike Hall, owner of Hall Funeral Homes, addresses the audience during Thomaston's town meeting June 12. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Resident Rick Catalano seeks clarification on the town's reserve account during Thomaston's town meeting June 12. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The Thomaston Board of Selectmen holds a workshop June 17 to discuss moving forward with town business. From left are Sandra Moore, Lee-Ann Upham, Bill Hahn and Chairman Peter Lammert. One seat will remain empty until a special town election is held to fill the seat vacated by Beverly St. Clair, who resigned. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Jun 13, 2019 18:02

Why do you say that Richard?



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 13, 2019 12:52

It took courage, humility and integrity to take the steps that Ms St. Clair and Mr. Johnson took. Thomaston should be grateful. Kudos!



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