AUBURN — A decision to knock down the Great Falls Performing Arts Center in June 2011 stands after all, Mayor Dick Gleason said Wednesday.
Gleason said he was wrong when he declared the Nov. 15 vote to knock down the building in error.
"As of now, I'm perplexed," Gleason said Wednesday. "It seems to me that the whole purpose of ordinances and rules is to do what is best for the people at large. I don't think motions to suspend do this."
He had planned a formal vote on the matter at the Dec. 6 meeting. He said it would take a motion by one of the four councilors who voted to raze the building to revisit the issue.
"I've talked to councilors and they've said they would be willing to consider any proposals from (Community Little Theatre) to take over the building," Gleason said. He expects the theater group to present an offer to the city by the end of this week.
On Tuesday, Gleason declared the Nov. 15 vote in error, saying Robert's Rules of Order require a two-thirds majority vote to suspend the city's rules. In Auburn, a two-thirds majority equals five votes.
Councilors voted 4-3 on Nov. 15 to suspend their rules, allowing them to take up an unscheduled agenda item. They then voted 4-3 to tear down the building — with councilors Mike Farrell, Dan Herrick, Ray Berube and Belinda Gerry voting to demolish.
Gleason said he was unaware of the five-vote requirement at the time of the meeting, but learned about it afterward. He checked with the Maine Municipal Association before issuing his statement Tuesday.
But the MMA contacted him Wednesday, saying the city's charter overrides Robert's Rules of Order, specifically on suspending the rules.
"Somewhere down the line, I think we need to look at this and maybe change the section," Gleason said.