Canton selectmen OK rules for meetings

CANTON — The Board of Selectmen on Thursday night approved rules for its meetings that require anyone wishing to speak to fill out a form five days beforehand.

Selectman Scotty Kilbreth presented the list of rules, which will be read at the beginning of each meeting.

“This is so people will understand that while the selectmen meetings are public proceedings, the public has no right to participate unless the board allows it or the meeting is scheduled as a public hearing," he said.

Anyone who wishes to speak at a board meeting must file a written request with the Town Office at least five days before the meeting.

Fifteen minutes will be allowed for open discussion and discussion will be conducted with no yelling, swearing or belittling, the rules state. Anyone who does will be asked to sit down and if they refuse they'll be asked to leave. If they don't, police will be called to remove them and charges filed.

The board will also handle all personnel issues in executive session with the person present.

Also Thursday night, the board finalized requirements for an administrative assistant. The person will serve as tax collector, treasurer, town clerk, registrar of voters, secretary, bill collector and do other related tasks.

The deadline for applications is March 8.

Selectman Donald Hutchins clarified the town's policy on General Assistance.

“The bottom line is that people who actually need help will receive that help," he said. "Spring is coming and there will be lots of outside work for people to help. There will also be help needed in the Town Office. We want to assure that assistance gets to the people in need and those who are able give something back to the town,” he said.

Kilbreth reported that the Maine Department of Transportation will be widening Bog Brook Bridge on Route 140 and a public meeting on the project is set for 6 p.m. March 15. The project is listed on the 2012-13 work plan at a cost of $300,000, according to the MDOT website.

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This pertains to all levels of government

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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What Are Canton Selectmen Afraid Of?

Knowing Maine citizens as I do—I don’t think the people of Canton will stand for this ‘rule’.

Yes, executive session is acceptable when there is a personnel issue to discuss. But to have to request (in advance and in writing—are you kidding me?) permission to speak at a selectmen’s meeting where town business is being conducted is ludicrous. Such tactics are not something people in a free country will tolerate.

The town board should welcome having the townspeople speak their minds and speak freely. Emotion is okay. Passion should be welcomed! If Canton residents are speaking their minds, you should encourage them, not attempt to squelch or censor or prevent them. Thank goodness there are still people in this country who give a damn about something!

If Canton's leaders are doing what they were elected to do, they don't need to worry about residents exercizing free speech. Do Canton citizens feel they are being respected and listened to? Perhaps citizens should speak MORE, and selectmen should practice LISTENING. I'm sure the Board is comprised of good men and women who may just be inexperienced in dealing with conflict. Trying to avoid it by creating this type of restriction will (and SHOULD) have the opposite effect.

I hope the Canton Board will rethink its decision.

Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., Maine

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is coming and the selectmen know some stake holders will be upset.

Be courteous but submit the form. How many in Canton are concerned?

Thursday March 1, 2012 at Community Building DEP holds public meeting about CANTON wind Project.

Sunday, march 4, 2012 WINDFALL movie plays at Dirigo High School 2 pm.
An 83 minute documentary about WIND turbines in a small town. Very educational.

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Ayatollah Kilbreth on the

Ayatollah Kilbreth on the loose.

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Boycott Canton

I can see reasonable constraints on public participation in board meetings if there is a problem, but having to file a form 5 days ahead of time is just WRONG. It seems that the board has forgotten who the boss is in the town. I think I will tell my boss that he needs to file a such a request before speaking with me. I bet that will go over REAL well.

I believe it is time to Boycott Canton and all businesses in it until this policy is revoked.


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