CHESTERVILLE — Voters will be asked Monday to fill two selectman positions.
Voting is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, 409 Dutch Gap Road.
Allan Mackey and Daniel Morse are seeking a three-year term currently held by Ross Clair, who was elected last year to complete the term vacated by Paul Caldwell.
Carroll Corbin, Guy Iverson, Anne Lambert and Maitland Lord Jr. are seeking the one-year term now held by Tyler Jenness.
The candidates were asked several questions about their bids for office:
1. What made you decide to run for a seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen?
Corbin: I have the time to help my town. I am retired. I want Chesterville to be the example for America to follow.
Iverson: I see a town with a lot of opportunity and I want to be part of it. The town is headed in a good direction.
Lambert: I have a great interest in municipal government and its finances.
Lord: Over the last four years we have seen a considerable amount of chaos in our town government. Citizens have voted to put funds into projects that weren’t done. The money was filtered into the general fund.
Our roads and equipment have been neglected. We have had a large, needless turnover of employees. It is time for this to stop.
Mackey: Six years ago, my wife and I bought a piece of property in Chesterville and quickly fell in love with the town. The people were warm, embracing and most notably, they were always willing to lend a helping hand. A year later we moved here permanently.
About two years ago I began to attend selectmen meetings. At points, it was fairly entertaining; at other points, very frustrating. Last year I was hopeful that progressive changes would take effect. There was progress, but not at a level that I thought it should be. As this year’s re-election came, a few people prodded me to run and I felt I had enough support to do so.
Morse: I had some reservations about how the town was run and not everyone having a voice. I want to represent those that have not been heard.
2. What qualifications would you bring to the position?
Corbin: I have been in a manager or foreman position all my life. I have handled up to a half million dollars of employers’ money.
Iverson: I sat on the board for four years and showed I will work to hold the line on the budget while moving the town forward. I have a very good understanding of policies and procedures. In my management experience in retail, I managed fifty people and five million dollars in annual sales.
Lambert: I have a working knowledge of the town’s finances and structure. I have a good rapport with the town employees. I would do, and have done, research on matters that come before the town.
Lord: I have operated my own successful specialty logging business for 35 years, now retired. I spent seven years working in the paper mill labor force. I have been a member of various groups and was President of the Farmer’s Draft Horse Club. I am a graduate of Livermore Falls High School. I attended business classes at CMCC in Auburn. My great-grandparents from three different branches of the family tree worked the land here in Chesterville.
Mackey: I attended Northeastern University for 2 years. I decided I wanted the money more than the education. I became a working class “Joe” like the vast majority of the people in my town.
For the past 10 years, I’ve owned and operated a moderately successful “new and used” office furniture dealership specializing in refurbished cubicles.
Through the process I’ve interacted with homeowners, small to mid-sized business owners and CEOs of corporations employing hundreds of people.
This experience has given me the ability to provide leadership in short-term and long-term planning, create and reinforce structure, interact with all types of individual mindsets, and to listen, process, understand and provide solutions.
Morse: I am a small business owner, a family man raised in this town. I have kids in the local schools and know the history of the town and its people.
3. What are your thoughts on holding selectmen meetings twice a month rather than weekly?
Corbin: The two-week meetings are very bad. I have time. I can meet every day if there is the need.
Iverson: Meeting twice a month is not enough. There is a lot of work that needs to be done.
Lambert: I favor weekly meetings. I believe this gives the board more opportunity to discuss matters in an open forum.
Lord: In a town as small as Chesterville, twice a month is adequate.
Mackey: I absolutely disagree with it. It’s propagated a lack of clear communication and slowed the decision-making process significantly.
If elected, I would move to return to weekly meetings, however, I would ask that the 4th meeting of each month become a workshop focusing on how to deal with past unresolved issues and collectively brainstorming to find more effective and peaceful ways to deal with current issues. Those items would then be added to the agenda of formal meetings.
Morse: I agree with twice a month meetings for the sake of keeping costs down, as long as all the necessary tasks and issues that need to be handled are still able to be taken care of in a timely manner.
4. What do you consider the most pressing issue(s) facing the town and how would you address it (them)?
Corbin: The SAD 9 budget. Last year’s four votes cost the town $5,000. SAD 9 salaries are out of control, up to 10 times the average pay for our area.
Iverson: Taxes: making sure people can afford to stay in their homes. Infrastructure: make progress while holding down taxes. Continue to pave with a quality product, saving in the long term.
Lambert: The condition of our roads is one of the biggest issues. For the past few years, more money has been budgeted to fix our roads and this needs to continue. Aging highway equipment, buildings and a septic system also need attention. The town needs to raise and appropriate monies for reserve accounts for big expenditures while staying within a reasonable level of taxation that the citizens of the town can afford and sustain.
Lord: Road and equipment maintenance seem to be the most pressing issues. Hiring good people and then nagging and degrading them until they quit is bad policy. That needs to change.
Mackey: Communication and clarity. The solution boils down to structure and process. I would begin by instituting by-laws for the board; clarifying the structure, function and hierarchy. Then I would move for formal training with the guidance of MMA and a specific focus on etiquette, managing of personnel and procedural issues. With the addition of process and structure, I firmly believe that it will create a foundation that will promote a more fluid board and provide clarity around any management decisions the board makes.
Without the management structure, we can’t move in directions that relate to economic development that would enhance our tax base or reach for grants that would allow us to bring businesses in or enhance our technological infrastructure to promote a virtual thriving community.
The cost of education represents 49 percent of our annual budget. Controlling costs on municipal expenditures and maintaining a flat line budget is needed to compensate. Allocate a responsible sum of money annually for road upgrades and general maintenance. Build reserves to offset lack of cash flow at the end of the year.
Morse: The overwhelming tax rates. I would encourage more small business, cut unnecessary spending and liquidate some town-held properties.
5. What are your thoughts on public participation at selectmen meetings?
Corbin: Public meetings are the best thing to happen in this town in recent years.
Iverson: I encourage public participation and strongly believe you should feel welcome at the selectmen meetings. I once saw a selectman make a motion not to let a citizen speak, nobody seconded that motion. The citizen then presented his case and the board reversed their decision based on the new information by a unanimous vote. The citizens must be heard, the selectmen work for you.
Lambert: Citizen input is of great importance. If a citizen takes the time to come to a meeting and has something to contribute, the board should listen. If the person rambles on, or gets out of hand, the chair should act accordingly.
Lord: Public participation in a select board meeting is a very MESSY form of government. One member of the public complaining, week after week, is not a legitimate issue. Our town has a large problem with this. The public is welcome to sit in on a meeting and listen, but in no way influence that meeting. If a citizen has a valid issue that needs discussion a set time should be scheduled prior to the meeting.
Mackey: There has been a drop in participation over the last year. I’d like it to be more open than it has ever been.
We are elected by the people to conduct the town’s business. Feedback is very important. There needs to be a balance to conduct business.
Morse: Everyone should participate and have a voice. I encourage residents to attend meetings, contact their selectmen. Closed meetings or meetings scheduled during weekdays when most people are unable to attend should be limited.
6. How would you balance the need for quality education and the ever-increasing costs of that education?
Corbin: Education costs are going through the roof.
Iverson: Education is the foundation of our country, a necessity to better your adult life. With more than 50 percent of property taxes going to education and watching infrastructure fall apart the pushback is understandable. Management has a responsibility to control spending. We cannot ask property owners to give anymore. The state needs to increase the percentage it covers.
Lambert: I believe quality education is very important. The select board has no control over the creation of the school budget or the process.
Lord: Voters seem to be saying enough is enough. If I could turn back history it would be for smaller schools.
Mackey: I’m not entirely educated in the processes of the school department’s criteria for programs relating to “quality education.” It’s become a burning item on everyone’s mind lately.
Morse: We should focus the schools’ money on necessary educational programs that benefit our children and prepare them to be productive after graduation. We should look at cost-saving measures in administrative, transportation and maintenance costs.
7. Please share some background information or any additional information that will give readers a better understanding of why they should vote for you.
Corbin: I have the time and compassion to do the job. I love the town of Chesterville. This town is what we make it.
Iverson: I stood up for this town and its citizens as a selectman. Whenever I took a stance, that stance was based on facts.
I see a town with opportunities; there has been renewed focus on taking care of our infrastructure and I would like to be part of that.
Lambert: I was raised in Chesterville, have lived here 59 years. I graduated from Mt. Blue High School in 1976 and Husson College in 1978. I worked at the District Attorney’s Office and Superior Court for 15 1/2 years. I left the workforce in 1994 to raise our two sons. I served on the Chesterville budget committee for two years and have attended select board meetings for the past four years. It was an honor to serve on the select board in 2016. After serving 5 1/2 months I tendered my resignation. At the time I thought that was the right thing to do, but looking back, I regret having done so. I would work to serve the best interests of the citizens and the town as a whole.
Lord: I have done two single-year terms as selectman in Chesterville, about 10 years apart. I always believed every citizen must sit in for one term. After seeing the problems that followed my last term on the board, I’m not so sure of this. If I am elected I will be there as long as the voters will have me.
Morse: I grew up here as did my father before me. I chose to raise my family. My dream is to make this town affordable for families, to encourage small business and agriculture. I am committed to preserving our history while continuing to grow in a way that makes us a community of people that support and encourage each other.
Carroll Corbin is seeking a one-year seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)
Guy Iverson is seeking a one-year seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen. (Sun Journal file photo)
Anne Lambert is seeking a one-year seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)
Maitland Lord Jr. is seeking a one-year seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)
Allan Mackey is seeking a three-year seat on the Chesterville Board of Selectmen. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)