Peru to begin review of Comprehensive Plan

PERU — The Board of Selectmen on Monday reviewed a letter from Bill Hine about updating of the town Comprehensive Plan.

Hine said selectmen need to be more specific about the objectives and have at least two members involved in the process.

He said the review committee members should be screened.

Selectmen Richard "Dickie" Powell said it should not have all town employees.

The board agreed the 2005 document needs updating.

Town Clerk Vera Parent, who was on the original committee, offered to get advice from Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. Selectman Laurieann Milligan agreed AVCOG should be involved.

Chairman Tim Holland suggested the board get started on a committee by the first week in January and possibly have a public hearing in conjunction with the special town meeting Jan. 19.

“If we’re going to do it, let’s get it right, Powell said.

In other business at the meeting, the board was informed that the municipal employees' insurance would go up $55.29 per month.

Selectman Ed Ferland said employees should pay the increase.

In discussion about the town hall renovations, it was decided that the first person to make an offer for the old doors will get them.

The roof is finished and Maine Builders has been paid. The board is waiting for the insurance company to say whether a landing is necessary at the door on the end of the building

There was good news on the financial condition of the town.

Parent said, “We’re in good shape," Parent said referring to the preliminary report on the annual audit.

Holland asked selectmen to take it home for study and bring questions to next week's meeting for possible approval.

Powell raised the issue of the lawsuit that was filed against the town and board secretary and Selectman Kathy Hussey last month.

“At some point we need to discuss why there is a lawsuit. I don’t think the attorney knows either,” Powell said.

“That's your opinion. We all have opinions,” Holland said.

Residents Martha Witherell and Dawna Kazregis filed the suit in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris, claiming they have suffered harm due to the town's failure to prevent Hussey from serving in both positions simultaneously and want her ousted from the board before her term expires in 2014.

In June, the town passed an ordinance preventing someone from serving simultaneously as an elected town official and a paid town employee, but there was no effective date. They also passed an ordinance changing the board secretary's position from appointed to elected, but that had no effective date either.

The Maine Municipal Association advised selectmen that Hussey should be allowed to serve out her term and the law take effect at next year's election.

In other business, resident Dwight Hines handed the board his written objection to Friday morning's selectmen's meeting to vote on whether to have town attorney Patrick Scully file a response to the lawsuit. He said it was not properly advertised.

Scully said the deadline for filing was Sunday, Dec. 2.

The board voted 4-0-1, with Hussey abstaining, to file a response.

Pauline MacKinnon said she thought it was Hussey’s selectman’s job that was in jeopardy, not her secretary's job.

Holland said it was both.

Powell told her not to believe anything that came from the board, and to read the MMA rulings online.

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Richard Begin's picture

Screening Process

Well When Bill Hine speaks sensible Folks listen


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