Having been the subject of the Sun Journal’s editorial of May 20, I believe that I, and the town of Rumford, are entitled to “equal time and space.” This response is my own. It is not the official response from the town of Rumford.

While the newspaper is entitled to its informants, the Sun Journal should have extended the courtesy of a telephone call to my office before jumping to conclusions about the history of amending the charter to allow for the sharing of the town manager. Had you taken the time to call me you would have been informed that there was a very tight, if not impossible, window within which to accomplish the town manager charter amendment.

These specific statutes require notice, a hearing and a waiting period of 30 days before a vote. The probability of those time limitations being met was too risky. If they were not met, then that would only have set the vote back substantially and beyond the timeframe within which the board of selectmen wanted to commence sharing of a town manager.

Rumford citizens are politically savvy. They read the laws, the statutes and ordinances. If timelines were not met, it would have been a disservice to the “management effort” and the electorate.

Part of my job as town attorney is to keep the town out of litigation, particularly with its citizens. Litigation is costly; the town has learned that. Last year, at this time, more than $37,000 had been spent on the town attorney; since then, less than $12,000 has been spent for town attorney services. Preventative representation is of greater service to the town.

I believe I have done my job in that regard.

Secondly, why is the Sun Journal so enamored with Rumford? Your criticism of Rumford is harsh and never ending. Never have I seen such harsh criticism of politics closer to your home base in Lewiston-Auburn. Do you feel safer by attacking from a distance? There is a lot of good in Rumford but the Sun Journal chooses to focus on the negative. Every town has its growing pains and Rumford is going through a political phase that is challenging but not unusual when changes are contemplated. Both sides of the political fence are made up of good people with strong views and the process will work itself out with time.

What is the Sun Journal doing to encourage the glass being seen as half full rather than half empty?

Next time, please extend me the courtesy of a telephone call before you jump to conclusions.

I hope that was an oversight, as hit-and-run tactics have no place in responsible journalism.

Tom Carey, Rumford


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