Court sides with Rumford, frees up town's $51,000 donation to Black Mountain

RUMFORD — Black Mountain of Maine ski resort got an early Christmas present Thursday from Oxford County Superior Court Justice Robert W. Clifford: $51,000 that had been held up since mid-October by a lawsuit against the town.

Clifford ruled against plaintiffs Alan Gerace, Frank DiConzo, Paul Lowell, Selectman Mark Belanger and Ronald Theriault, saying Black Mountain didn't violate Rumford's charter as the five Rumford residents contended when resort officials used the petition process to circumvent their funding-request defeat at town meeting in June.

“Contrary to the contentions of the plaintiffs, the court concludes that the provisions of the Town Charter have been complied with, and that Article V, Section 6 allows the previous votes of the town to be reconsidered if there is a valid petition with the requisite number of signatures,” Clifford said in his ruling.

At the June 8 town meeting, 657 residents voted to give Black Mountain no money; 420 voted to give the resort $56,700; and 637 voted to give it $51,000.

“Even though more people voted for donating money to Black Mountain than against, because the third option — donating nothing — received the most votes, the request for funding was denied,” Clifford said.

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6 of the charter, Black Mountain supporters asked selectmen to call a special meeting, arguing that the lack of funding created a critical circumstance.

Selectmen decided otherwise and voted to deny the request.

Resort officials, following the charter, then submitted a petition signed by the required 500 voters, asserting the critical circumstance: Without the donation, they'd be forced to close Black Mountain.

They requested a special town meeting, which selectmen scheduled for Aug. 27. But the plaintiffs prevented that when they asked the court to intervene.

However, the court denied the request for a preliminary injunction against the town vote on the funding issue. In its Aug. 19 order, the court concluded that the vote should be preceded by a formal town meeting with notice to the public, a reading of the warrant and debate consistent with the charter.

That was done on Sept. 27. By a secret ballot vote on Oct. 13, a tally of 405-370 approved donating $51,000 to Black Mountain.

The town, however, couldn't give the resort the money until Justice Clifford ruled on the pending lawsuit.

In the second part of the court's decision, Clifford said the charter doesn't require a vote on whether there is a critical circumstance to be conducted separate and distinct from the vote on the funding itself.

“The one vote on the funding is all the charter requires,” he said. “Because that vote authorized the town to provide funding for Black Mountain, the complaint of the plaintiffs must be dismissed, and their request for relief denied.”

After learning this on Thursday, Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia was as elated as Black Mountain Board of Directors President Roger Arsenault.

“We've got a Christmas present for Black Mountain," Puiia said. "The judge ruled in favor of the town. The good thing is that the town is exonerated for following procedure.”

On Thursday morning while working to get the resort ready for its season opening the day after Christmas, Arsenault was dejected.

He'd called the Paris court to see whether a decision had been rendered and had learned court was closed for the holiday until next week.

“It broke my heart when I learned that this morning,” he said.

And then Puiia called with the news at about 3 p.m.

“It's behind us now,” Arsenault said. “The most important thing is the staff up here. It's taken the pressure off them. And financially, we're going to be getting a pretty hefty snow-making bill, so this is pretty timely."

“We basically held off spending any of the season pass money or any of the pre-sale money in the feeling that we weren't going to be open," he said.

Because the Town Office is closed for Christmas, Puiia said the money won't be released until Tuesday, Dec. 28. That didn't worry Arsenault.

“We got the green light now, so we're off and running,” he said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Kevin Saisi's picture

I can hardly wait

I can hardly wait for the SJ changeover when the gutless faceless anonymous posters will disappear and everyone will be accountable for what they say. You people make me sick.

 's picture

T, We Completely Understand

While we read SJ daily, we rarely comment. T’s comment necessitates the response of a neutral party. CandiceAnn has not been on since early November, she made it clear she wasn’t coming back, her sister told you she wasn’t coming back, her friends have said she isn’t coming back, insisting on making comments like this only reflects badly upon you, T and anyone else that does this.

The quotes you took out of context from Armymom, are just that quotes taken out of context. There are three common themes among these out of context quotes you took from a few of Armymom’s many eloquent, very informed, and informative postings which are always truthful, honest, and disclosing information that has been kept hush-hush. The first theme is making known what is not generally known but needs to be and should be, like that the town crew did BMOM’s blasting . These things have been kept hush-hush to control public opinion and voters. Secondly, she makes common sense statements that offend those who either have none or if people up there used common sense on the issue they would be raising all hell like and they would lose some benefit, and example pointing out the users of BMOM shouldn't have a problem with picking up the tab for operating their luxury playground. Thirdly, after repeatedly with the patience of Job explaining the circumstances in detail, like the library hours, she runs out of patience with someone like Kevin who either is or chooses to be stupid ignoring what she wrote inter-library loan courier deliveries to the library every weekday morning requiring the library be open and insisting the library didn’t have to be open in the morning the “mail” could go to the Town Office. Personally, we don’t know how she shows such patience explaining over and over as long as she does; must have been a great mom.
T, the Frank DiConzo’s (Watchdog) quotes even taken out of context make perfect sense and are absolutely true. “The town of Rumford would not fall apart if this ski area were to close.” Absolutely true, the town would gain with no more need to send the police there to deal with unruly snowmobilers, skiers, and drunks in the lodge or bar none of which pays taxes. The town would not be paying for blasting of ledge or housing coaches and skiers in out of town motels or feeding them during events. The town would not be paying for an ambulance to be on going their regularly when a skier falls, hits a tree or whatever, and they would not be sitting up there on standby for snowmobile hill climbs and “events” that only cost the town money. Frank could have gone so far as to say “The Town of Rumford would benefit if this ski area were to close.” As for “Black Mountain does nothing for the town of Rumford,” after thinking this over he is wrong on this, BMOM does do “something” for the town, it sucks it dry stealing from the poor to give to the rich and dipping into money that should be going to things like education. “Rumford needs to get those "yahoo" selectmen out of office as well,” this has been the rallying cry for years and is one of the reasons many of us leave Rumford. If Rumford had decent government there would be decent jobs, the community would not look like a slum, our children would stand a chance at getting a decent education, and there would be reasons for good people to stay.
T, people are reading Armymom, Watchdog, and writers like them. They are listening to CandiceAnn when she speaks at meetings and other settings; they are reading what is printed of what she has said in articles. People are reading, listening, paying attention, finding truth, and more and more are agreeing. We are almost 2 thousand miles away and we hear it from our River Valley friends and family on Facebook, MySpace, in emails, letters, and in our phone conversations. We also read it in the comments here. This very comment of yours tells us you know these people speak the truth, are getting the work out, and you are threatened by it.

Kevin Saisi's picture

wildfires...

Dialog involves a series of questions and answers, each delving further into a topic. A question/comment about hours leads to discussion about the inter-library loan program, which leads to discussion about its requirements, and then to discussion of other facilities that do not participate. It is all very logical and sequential. Your comment regarding someone having to constantly repeat the same answer is not relevant to what actually occurred. I am sure that your name-calling directed toward me was merely a reflection of insecurities you may have in communicating with someone who thinks things through, rather than making knee-jerk responses. If the discussion is too intense for you to follow, please do not participate. I do hate having to explain things out to people who are too lazy to think.

 's picture

OMG HEHEHE

Kevin, Armymom can't delve further into a topic with you cause even after explaining anythinig to you in the simplist terms you don't get it. She explained the personnel situation and the hours so simply an 8 year old would have understood. Yes she was very logical and sequential, so what happened on your end? She's had to repeat the answers over and over in various ways to try to find a way that is within your capacity to understanding. Obviously even after she digressed to extreme simplicity you still have no idea how many people are working at the library, how many hours it is open or about the Rumford Library's participation in the inter-library loan program. We didn't call you a name, we described your behavior and we didn't go near far enough at stupid. As for the discussion being too intense, hehehe, have you read Armymom's latest attempt to explain the library to you in terms and language at a level you might be able to grasp if you have achieved the mental capacity of a 3 to 5 year old? Nope it isn't us with the intensity issue, we understood it the first time around, suspect you may not get it even after a go at Armymom's latest attempt. Instead of trying to explain things to people who already understand them Kevin when you clearly do not, you might try stopping to think and remaining silent. Kevin, we are reminded of a wise saying, "Better to remain silent and appear stupid, than to speak and remove all doubt," in your case you shouldn't type either, silent and keystrokeless would be our advice, at least until after Feb 1 or all the quality contributors like Armymom leaves taking all the intelligent readers with them, which ever comes last.

Kevin Saisi's picture

:)

I am fully aware of the various positions at the library, and their functions. I was less than fully aware of the requirements of the Inter-Library Loan program, but through a long process, I have been able to glean the pieces that I was missing. It would seem that the Inter-Library Loan program, while valuable, forces libraries to make very tough decisions when budgets are cut. I would hope that those who complain that the library is closed on the weekends would come to understand why this decision was made.

Merry Christmas :)

use by schools mainebob

comes at a cost. The schools pay for using. Again out of taxpayers pockets. Why don't you ask why they are being charged. They are for profit organization. It's poor management that has caused their problems. Libra made the mistake of allowing such a board to stay in tacked.

Audrey Alcala's picture

@Kevin....I really don't

@Kevin....I really don't think the Librarian or The Board of Trustees would make such drastic cuts without there being budget cuts. Having the Library open is an important necessity to area students. If I were one of Rumford's tax payers, I would be livid knowing my tax dollars were going to Black Mountain. The town of Rumford would not fall apart if this ski area were to close as they cried they would without the money. The tax payers should not have had to give them any money. Black Mt. should have planned better when they did their little face lift. And where is the "critical circumstance"? Black Mountain does nothing for the town of Rumford. They have taken advantage of the taxpayers, used money that could have gone for real "critical circumstances". Rumford needs to get those "yahoo" selectmen out of office as well.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Library

I never said I didn't support the library. I just pointed out that the weekend cuts were a choice that they made, not something they were forced to do. I would rather see money go to the library than to an outside entity.

Did anyone else realize that during this financial crisis, BMOM spent money to blast ledge, expand trails, build a new timing shack, and convert the old lodge (which was full of code violations when it was closed) into waxing suites for skiers to rent? That sounds like much more than $51,000 worth of improvements, but they still couldn't open without the "gift" from Rumford.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Hmmm..

I remember them discussing using the town workers, but at the last meeting, I thought I heard Roger Arsenault say housed someone else who did more than they had expected for the cut rate fee they paid. I may have remembered it wrong.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Just for Clarification.....

The Charter reads that the critical circumstance must be related to municipal affairs or the welfare if its citizens.

Kevin Saisi's picture

direct quote

"Special Town meetings shall be called by the Board of Selectpersons to fill vacancies in elective
offices as provided in Article XX of this Charter, and for no other purpose unless in the opinion of the
majority of the Board a critical circumstance exists relating to Town affairs or the welfare of its citizens
is deemed to be presented and which requires prompt action by the voters in special meeting."

Jack Kaubris's picture

This lawsuit had no merit.

Let the crying resume with the Doom and Gloom crowd. This lawsuit was yet another attempt to circumvent the voters and Town Charter of Rumford. This is further proof that a current and former selectman need to read (and more importantly, understand) the Town Charter that they claim to know so much about. Similar to the time these two illegally hired the town attorney to dissolve the volunteers on the Charter commission. Pathetic.

Kevin Saisi's picture

It could have gone either way

From what I heard, both sides had really good arguments.

Don"t you have

a picture of yourself rumforddude. Are you ashamed of what you look like or is it you don't want people to know who you really are? Unfortunately Judge Clifford must have went to MMA for guidance to render his decision. We know that this organization was wrong in the past and cost the towns monies and they've done it again to the tune of $51000.00. So if this decision was made in this manner then so be it. The $51000.00 could have been better used for new windows at the Library. I hope the people do the right by the town again when June roles around.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Library

The Librarian and Board of Trustees have the authority to decide when the building is open. The cut in budget did not force them to decide to cut the weekends.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Mail

All mail can be handled through the town office, permitting them to open later on certain days and provide hours on the weekend.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Nice Christmas spirit

I am aware of how the library inter-library loan program works. However, there is no reason why those items cannot be exchanged at the municipal building.

Kevin Saisi's picture

How do others do it?

How do libraries such as Jay handle the issue? They are only open a few mornings a week.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Jay

Okay, well that explains it then. Our children are being deprived of weekend library services so that our library can serve as a central service center for most of Northern Oxford County in the Inter-Library Loan program.

I believe that the Librarian is a full time employee receiving a set salary. What prevents him from being available to receive the books, leaving other employees to cover weekend hours? I understand that there would need to be another person there for the Library to be open for business, but if the administrator is present to handle administrative duties and handle the inter-Library delivery, wouldn't that free up some weekend hours?

Kevin Saisi's picture

So...

Why couldn't the library be open on a split shift (8am to 12 noon and 3 pm to 8 pm) saving three hours each day for weekend hours?

Kevin Saisi's picture

Hmmm...

Based upon what has been posted, I understand that the Library is open 46 hours per week. It has four full time employees, each of whom work 40 hours per week. Every open hour requires at least two staff to be on duty. Now, I am no mathematical genius, but it would seem that the building could be open additional days based upon this information. As a matter of fact, based upon staffing, it could be open as much as 80 hours per week.

Let's take a look....

Day Staff #1 Staff #2 Staff #3 Staff #4
Monday 9-5 (8) 9-5 (8) off off
Tuesday 9-5 (8) 9-5 (8) 1-8 (7) 1-8 (7)
Wednesday 9-5 (8) 9-5 (8) 1-8 (7) 1-8 (7)
Thursday 9-5 (8) 9-5 (8) 1-8 (7) 1-8 (7)
Friday 9-5 (8) 9-5 (8) off off
Saturday off off 8-6 (10) 8-6 (10)
Sunday off off 9-6 (9) 9-6 (9)
40 hours 40 hours 40 hours 40 hours

Of course, you would want to adapt the shifts adjust for vacation and sick time coverage, but with four hours of overlap, it is possible.

Not bad for an idiot, huh??

 's picture

I'm going to give you credit admitting your an idiot.

And I am going to take a shot since poor Armymom does not deserve to have to try again. I haven't seen her on all day, hopefuly she is having fun. For starters 9-3 is 6 hours X 2 days (Monday and Friday)=12 hours plus 9-8 is 11 hours X 3 days=33 hours 12 hours plus 33 hours=45 hours not 46. hours Maybe Armymom is home with a migraine. Kevin 1 of those 4 people that are left working at the library is the children's librarian. That person doesn't get assigned to the upstairs so you are down to three upstairs people and you are hamstringed right of to bat with the hours since you are 1) down to three people upstairs and 2) only have one to work the children's room. You know what people, you can't blame this on the fact Kevin is male, cause I am a man and I get it. Ginny Todd runs a number of programs during the day for the preschool kids like mommy and me story time so don't go getting the idea you will just do away with the children's room hours during the school day and save up those hours sticking her to work every evening and weekend. Not to mention that would be the perfect way to get a wonderful employee to quit. Next, anything over 8 hours is time and a half on a weekday or Satruday, double time and a half on Sunday. You have a bunch of overtime built in, not in the budget. Some days you have two people working, how is that going to work at lunch time? You don't have anyone to cover the upstairs or the children's room. Other days you have all four people working but you still have lunch screwed up with this schedule. Then the library isn't open Sunday, that would be double time. You have overtime built in to Sunday on top of that which is double time and a half on anything over 8 hours. You paying? Vacations are a week, that's seven days off. You mention, "adapt the shifts adjust for vacations and sick time coverage, but with four hours of overlap, it is possible" only three days a week, what about the other 4? Are people only allowed to get sick Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? What about the other 4 days they will be on vacation? Do you expect them to take their vacations three days at a time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday only? In total you are up to 68 operating hours which is going to add tremendously to the operating costs for heating and cooling, electricity, cleaning, water, sewer, and all the other things that go into having a building open in addition to the huge increase in payroll. What you just proposed would probably increase costs double what was cut from the budget. If you want these hours, you better tell the selectmen and town manager tomorrow morning when you stop in for your daily 30 minute visit, they need to put twice what they took out back into the library budget.

Just a suggestion, Kevin, don't put in for a position as a manager or try to run your own business.

Kevin Saisi's picture

:)

I wasn't advocating that the schedule be done as posted, just showing that more hours are possible with four people. Obviously, if you reduce the 10 hour shifts to 8, the o.t. Is eliminated. In all of the jobs I have worked, I have never heard of Sundays being overtime. Even the one union job I had only paid a small differential.

As for the children's room, there doesn't need to be complete coverage during school hours as most pre-school children don't use it alone. The programs can be scheduled when the appropriate staff are working. If coverage is needed on other days, one of the workers can work at that desk.

I have never worked in any job where the hours of operation were decided based upon the preferences of the workers. I take that back, when I was 11, I had a bottle redemption business where we picked up bottles at peopl's homes. The three of us scheduled our pickups as we wanted. But, in the real world of employment, all of the jobs have decided their hours of operation before asking my availability.

 's picture

Again, give you credit for acknowledging you are an idiot

Kevin as I said last night I give you credit for acknowledging the fact you are ignorant, no doubt about it. I also don't think there is any hope that will change. You have to rank a very close second to Tron on this site for lacking in mental capacity. Even a cancelled flight leaving me with hours if not a day or more on my hands is not enough to enduce me to make another attempt to reach into that fog filled void in your head. Love the "mug shot" photo of yourself you have posted for your logo by the way, very inspiring, really gives readers an idea of what to expect. For the next month the intelligent participants will remain pending the implementation of the "VERIFICATION" full name requirement Feb 1, should it actually take place, if it does you will be left alone here with those of your kind to fill the space with rediculous, boring, pointless, rambling, idiocy.

Kevin Saisi's picture

I wish I could say I will miss you

If disclosing who you are is all it takes to scare you away, then I have little respect for you.

 's picture

I came on to quickly post a

I came on to quickly post a realization I on what BMOM of really cost to the taxpayers of Rumford of the $51,000, in particular the folks of Strathglass Park, the poor in the apartments that are not up to code and their landlords when I read this. KEVIN you are truly amazing. As was explained to you in minute detail repeatedly over the course of the entire day yesterday, there are now only 4 full-time employees at the library. There are no part-time employees to work split shifts and no full-time person worth a damn is going to screw up an entire day and evening every day of the week plus this would really mess up the patrons going to the library, look what has happened with the court! No one going to the court, even good honest citizens that have to deal with the court because of criminals and thugs has a clue from day to day what the hours are. Common sense man, please, try a little common sense, would you work five days a week 8-12 and 3-8 so you could not see your family, have appointments, basically have any life? Well maybe you don't have a life already, but most people do. And Kevin, going to Town Hall every day constitutes frequently and spending even 30 minutes there every day is spending a lot of time at town hall. I dare say that no person, who is not an employee of the town spends as much time at town hall as you do.

For everyone else apologize for any typos or incoherence I just woke up and must like everyone else take the shovel and start digging. At least I am home so the wife isn't having to do it this time around.

Kevin Saisi's picture

You complain, but you don't want a solution

I have tried, ad nauseum, to find a solution to the weekend hours problem that was presented. Every suggestion I made was shot down. Unfortunately, it seems that this is how the town runs too, which leaves no question as to why it is in decline.

 's picture

Yes, Kevin, screwed up

Yes, Kevin, screwed up priorities. Had the library been properly funded so that the staff was not cut in half, everyone would have the afternoon, evening and Saturday hours they not only want but need. You should take this up with the Town Manager when you stop in tomorrow morning and the selectmen the next time you talk to them.

Kevin Saisi's picture

A reply suitable for framing :)

Okay, so you are saying that the library has to be open when the truck arrives. Well, that does make it more difficult.

 's picture

Love the toothpicks analogy

Don't think he'll get it Armymom but you gave it the old college or is it the pre-school teacher try.

Jake Smith's picture

headline hounds

hmmm Im sure if you all put your heads together you can think of something else to get your name in the paper , maybe you could go cut down the town christmas tree , I think I saw some people over there enjoying it , the only thing you people succeeded in doing was making yourselves look like MORONS

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