NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen asked Town Manager Dennis Lajoie on Thursday to look up the official definition of “tree warden.”
Tish Carr, who has served as the town’s tree warden for the past 18 years on a volunteer basis, said during a June meeting with Lajoie and Parks and Recreation Director Deb Partridge that she was told the town would no longer need a tree warden.
Lajoie said he never told Carr she could not volunteer for the position.
“I only asked whether or not we needed the formal position of a tree warden, with all the resources we have in town,” Lajoie said. “You can still volunteer. I just didn’t know if we needed the formal position.”
Carr said it was a surprise to her, and she could “not fully understand why you would want to eliminate the position of someone who has been volunteering for 18 years.”
Lajoie said when the town was making its annual reappointments, he asked Town Clerk Shirley Boyce whether the tree warden was a position that was reappointed on an annual basis.
“Shirley said she didn’t think so,” Lajoie said, “and when I looked into it, I noticed that the position was never reappointed.”
Selectman Russell Newcomb said he has been on the board for 18 years and could not remember the tree warden position ever being appointed.
“I know that you’ve done a lot of work for the town, and I’m wondering now if there was ever a mission statement drafted or a description of what the town tree warden should be responsible for,” Newcomb said.
“I didn’t know if the tree warden would have the right to tell people how to do things in regards to trees.”
Selectman Mike Twitchell said he would “never want to turn away anybody who wanted to volunteer for the town.”
Selectman Thomas Curtis said he agreed with Newcomb’s question about the tree warden’s responsibilities.
“I think we should have Dennis look at other towns with tree warden positions and see if they have any language describing it,” Curtis said.
Selectmen Russell Newcomb, Warren Sessions Jr. and Mike Twitchell talk Thursday evening about the town’s tree warden position and whether the town should have one. (Matthew Daigle/Sun Journal)