I wish to address the manner in which the Poland town meeting was held on Saturday, April 7.

When registered voters entered the meeting, they received a voting authorization – in this case, a blue piece of paper – to use in voting on particular articles. This ensured all votes could be seen and counted, unless secret ballots were required by law.

The Maine Moderator’s Manual identifies ways in which votes can be cast – the least recommended way is voice vote. By his own admission, which he stated several times during the meeting, Moderator Bryan Dench said he couldn’t hear well, yet he still chose voice votes to decide several contentious issues.

The moderator determined the outcome of the voice vote without even looking up at the audience at times. It also appeared, at times, that he banged his gavel when people were still in the process of saying “nay” about an article.

Given that Dench was appointed to this position of trust, and he is the town’s attorney, and a registered voter in the town of Poland, I would have expected he – of all people – would have conducted himself in a manner to prevent the appearance of showing bias during this town meeting process.

I believe the citizens of Poland were ill-served by his actions, and I strongly urge selectmen to ensure Dench is never again appointed moderator. The town meeting form of government was certainly compromised, and many people went away thoroughly discouraged.

Nancy Fraser, Poland


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