POLAND — Selectmen on Tuesday agreed in concept to joining other Androscoggin County towns to see if county commissioners can be persuaded to back down on their assertion that they have the final say in setting their salaries and benefits.

According to Town Manager Bradley Plante, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has declined to step in because it’s outside her department’s responsibility. As a result, Mechanic Falls Town Manager John Hawley has sent emails to elected officials in county towns asking whether they want to continue pressing the issue.

Selectman Steve Robinson said he was convinced that commissioners have usurped the authority the new county charter gives to the county Budget Committee in setting the commissioners’ recompense.

“This is a big deal,” Robinson said. “If it isn’t stopped now, it will go on forever.”

While all board members were in favor of joining the coalition, they wanted a few specifics, such as how would the matter be pursued, what it might cost and whether costs might be shared.

“We’re in, but then for how much?” Selectman Janice Kimball asked. “We want to know what we’re in for.”


Also uncertain was whether the intent was to take the commissioners to court or whether mediation might be a more reasonable starting point.

Selectman Stan Tetenman said he had spoken to a selectman in another town that has yet to take action on joining the coalition. The selectman expressed hope that perhaps the newly-elected commissioners will reverse the position and actions taken by the other commissioners.

On Nov. 25, Commissioners Beth Bell and Elaine Markas voted to restore much of the cuts the Budget Committee made to their salaries and health insurance coverage. The third member of the board, County Comission Chairman Randall Greenwood, abstained.

However, in accord with the new charter, last November voters elected a new commissioners, expanding the board to seven members. These new members were sworn in in January.

In other business, selectmen met with Don Stover and Fred Huntress, co-chairmen of the Conservation Commission, to discuss a proposal whereby money from penalties assessed when protected land is taken out of tree-growth would be placed into a fund for the town to purchase additional land for open space.

Stover said such an arrangement has worked in other towns and asked that the matter be presented to town meeting voters in April.


Selectmen tabled action on whether to place such an article on the town meeting warrant until the board’s next meeting.

Selectmen also reviewed quotes for services from four consultants interested in assisting the town in dealing with its three tax increment financing accounts. The board agreed to continue discussions with two of the four consultants.

Plante also informed the board that John O’Donnell & Associates, the town’s assessing agents, submitted a letter stating that as of June 30 they will no longer be working for the town.

The board worked at length on drafting a request for proposals for a new assessing agent.

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