Aug. 27 Rumford Welfare Budget vote canceled

RUMFORD — People who made plans to vote Friday, Aug. 27, on the Board of Selectmen's third straight attempt to pass a Welfare Budget, can scrap them.

The vote's been canceled due to a town law oversight by town officials, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said early Wednesday evening.

“There is a provision in an ordinance that requires the Finance Committee to make a definite recommendation to voters at every annual and special town meeting relative to all articles in the warrant for such meetings involving appropriations and expenditure of monies,” Puiia said.

While reading up on town laws on Tuesday, Rumford moderator Kevin Saisi discovered the oversight and brought it to Puiia's attention on Wednesday, Puiia said.

It means that selectmen will have to re-start the process of holding an informational meeting on their $35,000 Welfare Budget, and then schedule another voting day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to see if townspeople will approve it.

At town meeting balloting in June, a majority of voters defeated the board's first attempt to approve a $70,021 General Assistance budget. The board pared it to $60,000 and tried again last month, only to have that, too, defeated.

Puiia said that had voters OK'd last month's proposed budget, it could have been challenged when someone realized what Saisi discovered.

“It's not part of the Charter. It's an ordinance,” Puiia said. “So, knowing this, we must do what's right and reschedule it and have the Finance Committee meet (in public) and vote to make a recommendation prior to going to a secret-poll meeting.”

Selectmen have scheduled a special meeting for 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, in the municipal building conference room to set the new dates.

The oversight may also affect the court-ordered town meeting on Sept. 8 to debate Black Mountain ski resort's petition-initiated revote on town funding and balloting on Sept. 13, because that, too, involves an appropriation and town spending.

“I'm still waiting for a legal opinion on the petition, because that's not part of the budget cycle,” Puiia said.

To save the town money, Puiia said selectmen on Saturday could decide to have the Finance Committee meeting on Sept. 8 at the town meeting for the ski resort issue, and then tack the Welfare Budget vote onto the ski resort revote ballot on Sept. 13.

Otherwise, the board would have to keep the two votes separate.

But whether the Finance Committee recommendation on the Welfare Budget even makes it onto the ballot as a choice is also under legal review, because he isn't sure how to interpret town ordinances and the Rumford Charter, which sometimes contradict each other, Puiia said.

In other business, Puiia said he also learned Wednesday that townspeople can't vote in November to allocate two-thirds of the cable franchise fees to WVAC television station.

Selectman Greg Buccina made that motion at the board's Aug. 19 meeting, contingent on Puiia checking its legality.

To allow the vote means an ordinance change, which is something town law says can only happen at the June town meeting unless selectmen deem the matter a critical circumstance.

“I'd find it hard to believe that the board would find a critical circumstance exists for cable fees,” Puiia said. “So, we got a little bit ahead of ourselves.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Fred Stone's picture

Town lawyer

This town should never hire a lawyer that live in their home town, Tom is probably a good lawyer but it doesn't make sense to have a lawyer from town.
The last I knew all other River Valley towns have lawyers out of town to prevent a conflict of interest.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Charter

Unfortunately for your viewpoint, our Charter, which was approved by the voters, requires the town attorney to live in Rumford.

Jake Smith's picture

frank you need to go away

frank you are like a cancer to the town of rumford , Im pretty sure you only do the things you do because you like to see your name in the paper ,sure your a nice guy and all, and you seem sincere with all your back door political views, but you cant fool us anymore , please just go away lets take a vote HOW MANY PEOPLE WANT FRANK DECONZO TO MOVE AWAY,

YEAS NEYS
1 0

Kevin Saisi's picture

As I said...

The election procedures are in the Charter, and the Finance Committee duties are in the Ordinances. They were following the procedure in the Charter, and didn't realize that the Ordinance had an affect on the process. We already had one vote on the General Assistance ("welfare") budget without the review, proving that I too missed the requirement previously.

Tom Carey is not involved in the process unless the Town Manager asks for a legal opinion. Each legal opinion costs money, so they are not sought unless a question arises. Based upon what was in the Charter, there was no question until I stumbled upon the provision in the Ordinance. The lesson has been learned, and the proper procedure is going to be followed.

Unfortunately, we no longer have Eugene Boivin monitoring Charter compliance. Being more familiar with the Charter and Ordinances than many people, I have offered to review such procedures in the future upon request.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Hmmm...

It would seem by your comments that you really don't know me very well. I am not affiliated with Mr. Theriault, nor Ms. Stowell-Norris. Yes, I communicate with them from time to time, but I communicate with many people throughout the community on a regular basis. I would appreciate the opportunity to sit down and talk with you sometime.

It seems to me that there are some people who don't support Mr. Puiia, and just like in national politics, those who don't support a particular public figure fail to allow that person to be human and make mistakes. If you don't support Mr. Puiia as Town Manager, or Mr. Carey as Town Attorney, that is your right, but please remember that both are human, and have the ability to make mistakes. Being as close to the process as I am, I can tell you that this was a bona-fide mistake.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Personal attacks

... and you are calling into question MY maturity?? I have done nothing in this discussion but address the issue. Some people don't have the maturity to discuss things reasonably, much less be accountable for their comments. When you decide to be respectful I may respond to what you have to say. I have no use for playing in your sandbox.

Maturity

Why were you so nice to this person. I know. Your correct. Don't lower yourself to this persons level. They hide behind the blog. If this individual was an adult he/she would invite you or I to coffee and have a discussion face to face. Don't think that will ever happen.

dj inda am

Sounds like you have been sleeping in the am. You must be part of one those special interest groups or has a well built up bank account and likes to spend money. Why don't you let people know who you really are and then let the people recognize your real motives.

dj

if I had a sister I know one thing she wouldn't have anything to do with the lights of you. Keep hiding behind your sign in name. Never said I had anything against positive elites who "Really" care about Rumford. It's the elites like you that hide in the closet and do nothing to really help town progress.

Will It Continue

It probably will because there is only one person on the board who cares about the citizens rights and not special interests groups and that's Mark Belanger. The others are not listening to the voters. And it's not over. Call your board members and town manager and tell them not to grandfather the personnel policy. If they do , they will not be able to correct tax office wrong doings. Citizens in Rumford are saving there pennies, nickels,dimes and quarters to pay their taxes and put food on the table but yet the board minus one and town manager try to manipulate the inner workings to spend money. Elected officials and town manager are suppose to work for the best interest of all it's citizens , not just a few. That's what granfathering the personnel policy will do. The interest of one person and the reallignment of another and not saving the town anything. They just don't seem to get the message.

 's picture

Are there any lawyers in the house?

OK, let me get this right, a citizen finds the right info about how to conduct these proceedings from the Town's ordinances. Last week, another citizen acting as a group's lawyer found that the BMOM thing was handled wrong. Why are we paying for a town lawyer and town manager to make sure these things are done correctly? The citizens seem to know more about the town than the town does. Who says you don't want to hire experienced professionals? Apparently, the Board of Selectmen.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Oversight

This was a simple oversight. Regardless of qualifications, it is easy to overlook a single sentence in an ordinance that doesn't even pertain to town meetings. I found it while looking up something else. It is listed in the ordinances under Finance Committee. The town meeting provisions are found in the Town Charter under their own heading.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...