OTISFIELD – The Voices of Otisfield has no intention of changing its name, despite a recent petition asking the citizens’ group to do just that.

However, tensions may be easing between the group and the Board of Selectmen.

Following a regular selectmen’s meeting Wednesday, members of Voices of Otisfield said the group’s name will remain intact. But both they and selectmen said during the meeting that they want to erase what some called the “nastiness” of recent months and begin a more cooperative relationship.

“I don’t think we should have the back-and-forth voices in the newspaper,” Voices member Callie Zilinsky said. “I think we need to find a better way to communicate with each other.”

Board Chairman Mark Cyr said he wanted to continue what’s been a more-positive tone for the past few months. “Since December, things have been very cordial,” he said.

The discussion arose after resident Frank Blauvelt, who moderated the annual town meeting on March 4, said he made a mistake when he read aloud a petition signed by 143 residents asking the Voices of Otisfield to remove the town’s name from its moniker.

“The petition should have gone directly to the selectmen and handled by them at a later time,” he said. “I apologize for my lapse in judgment.”

However Lenny Adler, who stepped down from the board on March 4, said the town meeting was the appropriate venue for the petition to be presented. “The town meeting is the people’s meeting. The people’s meeting was the place to present it,” he said. Adler, Cyr and Selectman Tom Nurmi all signed the petition.

Voices of Otisfield held its first public meeting last April. It was formed in response to what some citizens viewed as shoddy practices by town officials.

The group maintains it is trying to help form a more responsive town government, but other residents have said the group is small and does not represent the views of the majority of Otisfield citizens.

Cyr said during the meeting that a name change “would go a long way toward mending fences.” However Voices members said after the meeting that the group has no plans to change its name.

In other business, selectmen and the Finance Committee will hold a public informational meeting May 31 to discuss the issue of having a town manager.

An article will be placed on the warrant for June’s town meeting that will ask residents to vote on whether to hire a town manager. A recommendation to hire one was made recently by the Government Study Committee.

Cyr said the public informational meeting will address the “financial impact or benefit” of a town manager. In addition, a community cleanup day for the town beach on Pleasant Lake will be scheduled at the next regular board meeting on April 19.

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