Board nixes hiring part-time economic director

RUMFORD — By a 3-2 vote on Thursday night, selectmen defeated a motion to hire someone to work 20 hours a week for six months to recruit new businesses to town.

Selectmen Jeff Sterling and Chairman Brad Adley voted to hire; Selectmen Jeremy Volkernick, Greg Buccina and Mark Belanger dissented.

Volkernick started action against the proposal, saying Town Manager Carlo Puiia should devote an hour each day from his job to call businesses.

Reiterating what he said a few weeks ago when the idea blossomed at an Economic Development Committee meeting, Volkernick said, “We have a town manager in this town, we have a Growth Council, the select board is the economic development committee."

Volkernick said it was mentioned at that meeting that Puiia was too busy running the town.

Volkernick then reiterated that at a past selectmen's meeting, he'd twice asked River Valley Growth Council President Rich Allen what the council had done for Rumford to bring business here.

“The question got reverted to something else,” Volkernick said.

“I've also said in the past that it is the responsibility of the selectmen and the town manager to bring business to this town. I will always feel this way. That's why I am a selectman.”

Although he said he would like to have a marketing agent hired for Rumford, he again said he wouldn't support the proposal.

“We have a very busy town manager supposedly, but we need to utilize him more,” Volkernick said.

He then cited his efforts to bring a franchise business to Rumford, like Arby's and Tim Hortons.

“I will tell you that Arby's is looking to come to Rumford if we can find a developer,” Volkernick said.

Such a project would cost $300,000 to $400,000, he said he was told by an Arby's owner.

Volkernick said he worked for two months to bring a Tim Hortons restaurant to town, but that failed when he later learned the company was downsizing and closing 30 of the restaurants.

He said he contacted another business, but wouldn't reveal it, and then made vague comments that it would be a positive step.

“We're not ready to make any announcements yet, but give us a chance,” Volkernick said. “I feel that 2011 is going to be a bright future.”

Siding with Volkernick, Buccina wanted the proposal tabled to June.

“We're already funding the Growth Council to do economic development for us, but let's be realistic,” Buccina said. “We've had the Growth Council working on our behalf for quite a few years. Have we had the success we wanted? No, we haven't.”

Belanger said he wanted and helped get Rumford an Economic Development Account a few years ago, but then said that he's since been discouraged to see it turn into “a slush fund.”

Paying someone $7,000 from that account to contact businesses 20 hours a week for six months isn't worth it, he said.

“That would be an easy $7,000 for someone to make,” Belanger said. “It seems like an experiment, and we've done a lot of experiments and not gotten many fruits.”

Buccina then suggested that the board and Puiia devote their attention to pursuing bringing a brand name hotel to Rumford.

Advocating for the proposal, Sterling urged the board to “take the risk and roll the dice and try it for six months.”

Albert Aniel of Mexico suggested re-forming a group of volunteers to work for the benefit of the town, which some selectmen said might be worth trying.

Sterling gave it one more shot, warning the board that they should “be careful what we dictate the town manager to do with his time."

However, Volkernick, Belanger and Buccina disagreed and defeated the proposal.

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 's picture

Growth Council

Sorry Frank, I will not let your comments go unchallenged.

First, the blue ox would work if our community were at a different point. Unfortunately, our downtown has little left to attract tourist interest. But this is a national trend in retail. It is a good idea, with bad timing and a poor design.

Second, as I stated to you when I visited you recently, YOU as a member of the community can do quite a bit to get things moving. Len Greaney has made progress toward achieving his concept of a Memorial Park of which we can be proud. The things you have mentioned all take time and labor. You had no problem volunteering your time to remove the trees in front of the town hall, but now you have a problem helping to design a location for the SHS Super Reunion Memorial at the SHS Memorial Park?? As for placing a fighter plane or helicopter in the Memorial Park, I say it is too small. Instead, get a small tank.

Third, How dare you insinuate that Beverly Crosby spends her entire day smoking?? That is way out of line. Should we go back and evaluate your performance as a letter carrier????? What is a 701 abuser?? Did you always deliver the Sears Christmas Catalog, or did you leave it to be done on your day off? You wanna go there???? I "go there". I wrote the brochure on "going there". I belong to the "there" chamber of commerce. :)

Beverly spends her work week managing the programs of the Growth Council. There is much to be done. Just because they are not doing what you or I wish they could do, it doesn't mean that they are doing nothing. Bev takes her designated breaks, and yes, I believe she may smoke during that time. But it is way out of line for you to insinuate that she gets paid to do nothing but smoke. SHAME ON YOU FRANKIE!!!!!!!!

 's picture

Don't Go There (Feat. B.o.B.) lyrics

Well people gon be people aint nobody gon change,
But we can keep it peaceful if we leave it the same,
If you don’t go there, don’t go there, don’t go there,
no, don’t go there,

Bull It Is

Because trust was given to one person who came up with the idea and it came in not looking like an OX. And the board wanted to appoint this same person as eco developer. For once Mr. Belanger got some assistance with the right vote. Now it's time to move the bull over with Paul. Somehow figure a way to get a yoke on him and maybe help it look like an Ox. Then let's have the Town Manager request a fighter jet or helicopter for the Vets Park at the end of Congress street that should have been done long ago. Then move the super reunion stone to the Stephens site where it belongs. Trim those blocking trees along Rte 108 entering town. People might have time to slow down and make turn on Canal St. if they could see that there is a town on the other side of the grown in investation. There are many little things that could be getting done but no one will take initiative and say Do it! That's what you got voted into office to do and appointed Town Manager to do. The Growth council is a joke. If you want to see what the people who work there do most of the time just ride by and look for the cigarette smoke rising into the air.

 's picture

I didn't make this meeting

I didn't make this meeting therefore don't no first hand what went on and haven't run into CandiceAnne or anyone who was there to get the whole story. The Ox is awful no doubt. I have to question whether the person who pushed the Ox, Jim Rinaldo is the person anyone had in mind for a part-time economic development director. Phil Blampied has been working his way into that job beginning with writing the grant for Strathglass Park/the landlords then talking the selectmen into the need for a study of the Gateway Project and getting himself awarded the bid, he followed that up with getting him to keep the extra money budgeted for the Gateway project to do marketing. When it came time to write the second phase grant of $500,000 for Community Development to continue Strathglass Park, landlord and other work he insisted he would only do it if the town paid him according to people at the meeting. The same with the $10,000 grant for to do the required Planning. Candice Casey who is trained to do grant writing by the Muskie School and in the area with the Community Pride Project to do such work stepped in and offered her services free of charge. It is my understanding that the selectmen have passed on these grants dispite the fact there is no match required for the $500,000 grant which was all but a sure thing since it is a second round that the Town received a first round award for and the $10,000 grant required only a $2,500 match but the planning is required by law, must be done and will have to be paid for one way or another, taking the grant to cover as much of the costs as possible would have been a no brainer. The selectment apparently have decided Rumford does not need $510,000 in grant money for economic and community development. I disagree, Rumford needs all the help it can get.

Arthur Boivin had a Jetfighter donated right down to delivery and setup absolutely free, for the veterans park,. It was rejected by the Town Manager and previous Board of Selectment. It may be very difficult to get a donation like this after Rumford rejected one so resently.

If the highway crew where not attempting to do work for which they are neither qualified nor have adequate experience and there for take far to long, do not produce a quality produce and cost way more than if the work was contracted out to a qualified, experienced contractor they would have time to do the work they could be come and should become qualified and experienced at for the betterment of the town. It is time for the highway department to stop with the attempts at road construction and leave this to the professionals. It is time to get with maintaining what we have with projects like trimming along 108, keeping the sidewalks along Rumford Ave unobstructed by brush growing up from the River Bank, doing something about the many dangerous sidewalks around town (What happened with the sidewalk extension between Cumberland and Falmouth on Essex that was authorized 2 years ago for the safety of children at that bus stop?), keeping our town beautiful (cleanup around Memorial Bridge and snow dump) and many other projects that the town crew should be doing and doesn't have time for because they spend the entire working season on a digging up, covering, re-digging, covering, re-digging. . .a short section of road making residents crazy.

The super reunion stone does not belong at Stephens none of the participants graduated from Stephens. Rumford High School, now Mountain Valley High School was built long before 1980 which is the first year that encompassed the super reunion. All of the Super Reunion participants graduated from Rumford High School which is now Mountain Valley High School or Mexico High School which is now Mountain Valley Middle School, none graduated from Stephens and only the Rumford classes on 1980 and 1981 ever set foot in Stephens as they were the last classes before it closed as a Jr. High.

You are correct Frank that there are a lot of things that not just need to be done, but desperately need to be done. I disagree with you on the initiative however. Community Pride has been in Rumford for a year and a half trying to get things done being fought by city hall every step of the way. They organized the folks on Hancock St, Waldo St., Cumberland St, and Falmouth St. from Rumford Ave to Lincoln Ave to clean up the neighborhood, recycle, and volunteer with lots of community projects among other things. Community Pride also worked with the current owners of the old Puiia Hardware complex to remove the old wood sheds and other dangerous structures in back, clean up the front buildings and better secure the property. They have been working with landlords and vacant/abandond properties to get them cleaned up, the lawns mowed (some hadn't been touched in years) and landscaping, broken windows and other issues addressed. Numerous requests have been made to the Town Manager, Selectmen, Police (Groan), and Animal Control (Groan) to address the dog at large, feral cats, dog poop, and skunk problems, all unfortunately unsuccessful despite ordianances and taxpayers paying salaries for services. The Community Pride people have the patience of Job dealing over and over with these people whose job it is to take care of these things with no results. They have also been at the RES painting class rooms and I understand are waiting for the go ahead to begin a major painting project for Hope Associatioon.

The Growth Council is made up of a Board of Directors selected by the Selectmen of the 10 member towns with Dixfield, Mexico and Rumford each sending 2, Andover, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Hanover, Peru and Roxbury each send one. These Seletmen appointed board members are usually selectmen or Town Managers, got a beef with the Growth Council, look to your Board of Selectmen and Town Manager AGAIN! In addition to the Selectment/Town Manager Board Members there are business members as well. These are business owners and managers who volunteer to serve and are picked by the board with the same break down as the govenment members, 2 from Dixfield, Mexico, and Rumford and one from each of the other member towns. At one time each town contributed funding to RVGC via initiated articles, now no town contributes. How do you expect this organization to work on your behalf towards economic development with no financial support whatsoever? At one time there where two locations, Rumford and Canton, with 5 full-time employees, now there is only the Administrative Assistant working full-time and an 8 hr bookkeeper struggling to keep up with the micro loan, technology center payables/receivables, growth council payables/receivables, the website which has been done for months because of a problem with the host, answering calls, assisting applicants for the micro loan program, trying to find clients to fill the technology center, helping people with business plans etc that want to start businesses, and on and on all with no time and virtually no budget.

Cigarette smoke, Frank? The Career Center is in that building! All those fine young men and women on unemployment, baby moma and baby daddy signing up for this and that to up their benefits. Then you have Community Dental taking advantage of the low rent while they charge top dollar on their "sliding scale" for dental care in the "low income" area without adequate services. SBA has an office in there. The Mill uses the conference rooms for meetings; mill employees don't need to worry about cancer from the mill, they make sure to generously self dose themselves with carcinogen alla cancer stick at every opportunity they can create. The two Growth Council employees paid to work a total or 48 hours a week don't have time to leave their desks for lunch never mind create a column of smoke outside the Technology Center. How about funding the Growth Counsel so they can do some good instead of whining because they aren't moving mountains with the nothing they are given to work with.

I really had not intended to go on like this but, damn this is the Christmas Season, and there are a lot of people who have tried and tried and tried beating their heads against the brick wall of city hall to finally give up and there are those like Bev at the Growth Council and the people with Community Pride that are still trying, still beating their heads against that same brick wall. Frank if you want to help, if the rest of you want to help, start by voting some money to the Growth Council to do the job, stop funding things that don't work like the highway department trying to build roads, hold people accountable, dump the deadwood from town operatioons, and vote in some selectmen with sense, Mark Bellanger is the only one you got now with any, he can't do it alone.

 's picture

Not so Common Sense

Ms. Sense,
It would seem that you are once again speaking through the wrong orifice. The Super Reunion for which that monument was placed included all graduates of Stephens High School. The Committee was headed by Jimmy Sullivan, who I assure you never attended Rumford High School. There have been super reunions since the one for which the monument was placed, but the monument was not placed for those events.

In the future, please make sure you know what you are saying before opening your mouth or approaching a keyboard. We would all be very grateful.

 's picture

The same could be said for

The same could be said for you young man on the knowing what you are saying before opening your mouth or appoaching a keyboard, it is MR not MS; my profile clearly states I am a male over 55. Would be quite embarassing for you to address a gentleman of my years as Ms face to face.

The only Super Reunion I am familiar with is the one this past summer for which Mr. Greg Viger was one of the primary organizers and that one was for all graduates of Rumford and SAD #43 in the 1980s, nothing to do with Stephens High School. If there have been any others, I never heard a word about them, must have been a kept secret to keep them private affairs. The Super Reunion for the '80s grads was the talk of the town for over two years or more.

I will look forward to the Mr next time, young man. Merry Christmas to you.

 's picture

Ignorance and deception

Just because you are unaware of something, it doesn't mean it didn't happen. If you think of it, the monument has been there for a number of years, and the Super Reunion of which you speak happened this summer. I don't believe that the attendees of this recent Super Reunion would be vain enough to need a monument to themselves for holding such an event. However, when you bring together the alumnae from multiple decades to honor an institution that has served the community, and is about to be torn down, that is likely to generate a monument. Actually, I think the SR was held before the Stephens was slated to be demolished. It was back when the Stephens High School Alumni Association was looking to raise money to put a pool in the building. So, we are talking back at least 15 years. Perhaps you were still living in Florida operating your multi-million dollar pool supply company at the time.

As for your identity, I seriously doubt that there is any difference between you, Candice, and whatever the other name was that she was posting under a while back. The three of you all type long winded letters with the exact same substance, conceptual mis-givings, and typographical mistakes. I can understand having the same opinion, but for you all to share the exact same writing style and errors, is way beyond coincidence. Also, you often claim to have attended (or not attended) the same meetings as Candice. I have been at hose meetings, and know who was there, and what they believe, and how they express themselves, and how closely they agree with Candice. There is no way that you are not her.

 's picture

So surprised you did not telephone her yourself

I confess, to my knowledge, I have never laid eyes upon the monument. I don’t know where it is. If it is at the veteran’s park I haven’t been there since the last time I took the grandchildren to a tree lighting many years ago. Don’t think we went into the park. Is the town Christmas tree still there? I wouldn’t think vanity is a word one would use to describe honoring all the graduates of two high schools in two districts that no longer exist. Given the past history of rivalry between SAD 43 and Rumford their coming together for the Super Reunion was quite impressive. I’ve never lived in Florida only visited. It is a beautiful place, especially nice to this time of year. I have never owned a pool supply company, not a good investment in Maine and not into retail. Sorry Armymom bothered Candice. Her appearance at meetings has been rare since her illness over the summer. I am surprised that you didn’t call and annoy her Kevin. You do like to express your opinion and self-proclaimed expertise to everyone ad nausium at every meeting and encounter. That proclivity is gratefully not shared by most including me who prefer to keep their mouths shut and opinions to themselves. I can also say with sincerest honesty that you would not be inclined to know of my opinion as I would not be inclined to speak to you even as a courtesy as I find you a pompous, uneducated, immature, buffoon. The fact that Candice agrees with me on so many issues just goes to prove her wisdom, maturity, and intelligence. She has taken the time to educate herself and is cultured beyond most in the area. I enjoy her company on those rare moments we do speak. Kevin, you and Mr. Blampied really should get over yourselves; certainly the world certainly does not revolve around either of you nor does the little hamlet of Rumford.

 's picture

Just the reply I expected.

The super reunion monument that stands in Memorial Park has nothing to do with bringing two schools together. It was a reunion of everyone who graduated from Stephens high School. The more recent super reunion was a great event, but hardly worthy of a monument. Yes there was a rivalry between the two schools in the past, but as people mature beyond adolescence, they eventually understand that such things need not extend into contempt for a neighboring town.

It is not within my nature to call to harass citizens over political views. I do have a playful banter with certain selectmen, in the same way that some people tease each other over the Red Sox/Yankees. I was unaware that Candice was still experiencing illness.

I do not proclaim anything. I offer suggestions based upon my knowledge and experiences. You can think of me as you will, but I am not uneducated, and I tend to research a topic before presenting any kind of so-called expertise. If you listen carefully, you will hear me use qualifiers such as "I believe" and asking questions rather than proclaiming truth. The only area where I tend to be more confident, is the Rumford Charter and Ordinances, but even there, I often couch my comments with the phrase "I believe".

Candice does present some good points from time to time. However, I will reserve comment beyond that.

Phil Blampied's picture

Hi, Candice

Regular readers probably don't need to be told that the above message is from Candice Casey who is engaging in her usual bizarre practice of praising herself under a pseudonym. She is also engaging in slandering me with lies and distortions and misstatements of fact. Not only am I not "working my way into the job", I opposed hiring an economic development director. Much else stated above is wrong but I won't belabor the point. Candice is upset because I opposed an (again) bizarre plan she had to submit a quarter million dollar-plus grant request on behalf of the Strathglass Park Preservation Society. The peculiar plan would have discredited our organization with every major foundation in the state. For revenge, she slanders me every time anything having to do with Rumford economic development shows up in the paper. Why does this publication allow this kind of behavior?

Phil Blampied

 's picture

Apparently Sir you are

Apparently Sir you are incapable of reading profiles. Your critic is male, unlike Candice Casey who is very much female. I sir have achieved considerable more years years and far more grey hairs than that lovely lady as well. It is unfortunate that Ms Casey no longer blesses us with her elloquent, thoughtful, and well informed contributions. You'll have to do with this old stodger. Might I suggest you refrain from verbally assaulting a non-participant before it brings you harm.

Phil Blampied's picture

Just identify yourself then

If you are not Candice Casey, you can easily prove me wrong by just saying who you are, as I do in these posts. Candice, it's obvious to everyone that you post under this and several other alternative identities. I would hope you stop doing this and just post under your own name. This sort of stuff poisons the public discourse in Rumford and is one of the things dragging the town down.

Phil Blampied


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