Paris rejects police merger with Norway

Leslie H. Dixon, Sun Journal

Kathy Richardson of Paris said at Monday's special town meeting that she was not convinced that the merger agreement for Paris and Norway police departments was the right one for the town.

PARIS — A one-year trial merger of the Norway and Paris was defeated on a 41-41 vote by voters Monday night.

Leslie H. Dixon, Sun Journal

William Oster of Paris casts a ballot Monday on a proposed merger of Paris and Norway police departments. The measure was defeated in a 41-41 vote.

Leslie H. Dixon, Sun Journal

Paris police Lt. Michael Dailey said he did not believe officials would try to bring the police merger up to voters again after it was defeated at a special town meeting Monday night.

“The vote failed in my opinion,” town moderator Vern Maxfield announced to voters, who gasped as they heard the results of the paper balloting.

The vote came after only 15 minutes of discussion from residents largely against the plan.

The five-page agreement for combined police services between the two towns was developed as a one-year pilot program. The plan had been supported by Norway voters in June. If Paris had agreed to implement it and both towns decided to continue after one year, a transition board would plan a more comprehensive merger of the departments.

“I guess we go back to nothing,” Paris police Lt. Michael Dailey said after the vote.

Norway police Chief Rob Federico said his department will simply move on.

When asked if they would try to resurrect another vote, both chiefs said no.

While the majority of speakers spoke against the plan, Budget Committee member Robert Jewell asked voters to give the one-year pilot program a chance.

“I say we go forward with this and see what happens,” Jewell said. “The worst we can do is say it won't work.”

Opponents such as Kathy Richardson said a merger might work,  but she did not believe this particular plan was the right one.

“I'm not convinced that this merger is it,” Richardson said.

While Federico addressed a question about replacement of officers who leave shortly after being hired, neither department made a presentation to voters about the merger.

Officials said the merger was intended to provide a more efficient use of their police force staff and resources.

If the one-year agreement had passed, all patrol functions would have operated out of the Paris police station. All investigative operations would be headquarters at the Norway police station.

Each town would fund staff and equip its own department during the one year trial. Additionally, each town would have been responsible for the salary, benefits insurances and other financial issues, including maintaining adequate liability insurance naming the other town as an additional insured.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Kim Waite's picture

"Other financial issues"

is why I voted against the merger. Does the town of Paris really need to be helping to pay for lawsuits brought against Norway officers etc? Seriously, in the end the town of Paris would have lost and Norway would be the only one to benefit. It wasn't a good deal. The numbers used to sell this to the public didn't make sense and many residents had questions that still weren't answered honestly. Even at the meeting, the actual agreement was not given to residents to look over and ponder. Very deceitful if you ask me! And I blame the current Paris Select Board & Town Manager too in not supplying that information to the public.

Maybe instead of spending $80,000 on a piece of new equipment, how about hiring more officers with that money? Oh wait! Too easy! We have an out-of-control Town Manager & Select Board that likes making things pretty in town instead funding what is really needed (painting the town office when the manager is screaming that funds are low?????? No one does that!)!

I also wanted Officer Skip Mowatt to stay over at the high school, because he has the right temperment and the staff there enjoys their relationship with him. Having Chief Verrier would have been a nightmare if you want my true opinion!

I'm glad the merger-trial-period was shot down. Who knows what could have gone on or happened during that time or how expensive it could have been....

PAUL MATTSON's picture

No surprise here. Paris has

No surprise here. Paris has been stuck in the ditch for decades...

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