RUMFORD – Charter Commission Chairman Walter Buotte believes the peoples’ vote 18 months ago to create a commission to review and make recommendations for changes to the 50-year-old document cannot be reversed by selectmen.

A decision by the town’s attorney on the legality of the selectmen’s vote a week ago to dissolve the commission is expected within a few days.

Selectman Frank DiConzo motioned to dissolve the commission, Selectmen Mark Belanger and Arthur Boivin agreed. Selectman Chairman Greg Buccina did not vote, while Selectman Brad Adley voted against the motion.

Town Manager Jim Doar said Thursday that attorney Tom Carey is investigating the legality of the selectmen’s action.

“It will be on the Jan. 3 agenda,” he said. “The commission is kind of in limbo now.”

Buotte said the commission has worked hard on the document, reviewing the charter line-by-line. He presented a preliminary report on the group’s recommendations at an early December selectmen’s meeting.

Among the more substantive proposed changes are expanding the five-person Board of Selectmen to seven, allowing a town manager to live within the region but not just in Rumford, and making the elected positions of town clerk/treasurer and tax collector appointed.

Tax collector Carlo Puiia has said the document has been amended 47 times over the years.

Buotte believes significant changes need to be made. He said major proposed changes would be listed separately on a ballot expected to go before voters in June.

He hopes the commission will be able to continue its work and hold a series of public hearings on the proposed changes in February and March, if the group is still considered active.


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