LEWISTON — A day after winning the job of drafting consolidation papers for the Twin Cities, the six Lewiston-Auburn Charter commissioners-elect began working to figure out their next steps.

“Last night, I was kind of wondering what I’d gotten myself into,” Commissioner-elect Chantel Pettengill said. “It’s just because everything is so blind right now, and nobody knows what to expect. Once we get in there and make a plan, I think everything will be all right.”

Voters in Lewiston elected Pettengill, Eugene Geiger and Lucien Gosselin at the polls Tuesday night to be their representatives to the commission. Auburn voters selected Chip Morrison, Michael Beaulieu and Holly Lasagna.

The first step will be confirming Tuesday’s vote. Lewiston and Auburn city clerks say the other candidates in the race have until June 17 to challenge the results and inspect the ballots. It could happen in Auburn, where Lasagna defeated Verne Paradie by six votes, 1,048 to 1,042.

Paradie said Wednesday he had not decided whether he would challenge the results.

Once the results are settled, the commissioners will be sworn in.


“The first thing we have to do is make sure we are legal and official, then we can have a meeting and start putting together material to read and discuss,” Morrison said. “Some time next week, that should all be sorted out.”

The six are charged with creating a plan to combine Lewiston and Auburn. The group has no deadline, no budget and no example on which to base its work.

The only guide is state law, which allows citizens to create a commission to draft a charter and create a new municipality. According to state law, the group must come up with a name for the new city, catalog each city’s existing debt and assets, choose a location for city offices and draft a charter that spells out how the new government will work.

Once they’ve finished, the question will go to Lewiston-Auburn voters. If a majority of either city turns it down, the new charter fails. If both cities approve it, however, the current cities have two years to wrap up their business.

State law does not say how long the group has to do its work, how often it should meet or how meetings should be structured. That will all be up to the commissioners once they get started.

“If there was a blueprint, this would be easy,” Morrison said. “We could just fill in the blanks. But there is no form, so we’ll have to make one of our own.”


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