NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen drew fire from five citizens on Monday who told the board to rescind last month’s action to expand the town’s Budget Committee from seven members to 10.

Former selectman Pamela Slye with her husband, Brad, and daughter Katherine each told the board to revote the issue to the original seven members.

Pamela Slye and her family lashed out at newcomer Josh McHenry, whose motion was approved by a 3-to-2 vote on July 19. Pamela Slye lost her post in June to McHenry

Pamela Slye said, “In all honesty, it was a disgrace. I’m asking that it be overturned. It’s a backroom deal that was deceitful.”

Incumbents Tamilyn Wayboer and Richard Cadigan were reappointed to three-year terms, while newcomers Sean Chayer, Jean Couturier and Melanie Craig were each appointed for one year.

Brad Slye charged McHenry with betraying his campaign platform that non-emergency items appear at least twice before the board takes action.

McHenry said the town operated under state law and has no charter or document policy on committee size. “I don’t think the action by the board was out of the spirit of my campaign position. These positions were open and the public was welcome to apply for a long period,” he said.

Katherine Slye said the expanded board made it difficult to have a quorum at a meeting. Instead of a minimum of four attending, six are required.

Selectman Mark Leighton, who originally approved the expansion of the committee, said he struggled with his decision and regretted his vote.

Budget Committee member and Planning Board Chairman Wanda Brissette said transparency was at issue by expanding membership and filling the positions that same night. She said policy was manipulated without fair governance.

Budget member Amy Arata who also serves on the Planning Board said the budget process this year was troubling.

“We treated each other with respect,” she said of committee members, but said the public’s behavior at budget meetings was troubling.

Though the issue was not an agenda item on Monday, the board voted to recall the issue and schedule taking action on the issue at a future meeting. The recall vote was 3-1-1. Voting to rescind were Selectmen Libby, Berry and Leighton. Selectman Linda McCann abstained and McHenry opposed.

After the vote, Sean Chayer and Jean Couturier said they applied for the slot in good faith and were pleased to be named.

“What’s going on tonight is a kangaroo court,” Couturier said.

In other business, the board was told that the assessing project to complete the town’s commitment is proceeding smoothly. By the end of the month, the board anticipates setting the mill rate for 2010-11.

A team of assessing agents under contract will complete the tax commitment work because the town’s full time assessing agent is out on medical leave.

And, the board named Brad Slye to Land Management Planning Committee for a three-year term. Also applying for the position were Jean Couturier, Pam Slye and Katherine Slye.

Also, the board opened nine sealed bids for a new wheel loader. The bids will be studied and a recommendation will be made in September. The bids span from $99,600 to $156,000, which includes trade-in and warranties.


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