NEWRY — Selectmen voted 2-0 Wednesday night to appoint Selectman Gary Wight to the School Administrative District 44 Withdrawal Committee.

Wight replaces former Selectman Albert Brooks Morton on the committee. Morton was defeated at the polls Monday by challenger Jim Largess. He received 92 votes to Morton’s 79.

After Wednesday night’s selectmen meeting, Wight told Morton he would like to meet with him to get up to speed with the committee’s work.

After consulting a lawyer, selectmen in October 2014 voted to place Morton on the committee, because of a mandate from the Maine Department of Education that withdrawal committees must have a selectman as a member.

Morton was the only member with no ties to SAD 44. Board of Selectmen Chairman Wendy Hanscom is employed by SAD 44 and reports to the superintendent, with whom the committee must negotiate. The committee’s lawyer, Dan Stockford, said because of that, Hanscom couldn’t serve on the committee.

Selectman Gary Wight’s wife is employed by SAD 44. To eliminate the potential appearance of conflict of interest, Stockford said Hanscom and Wight could abstain from voting or vote on the matter so long as they disclosed their connection to SAD 44. Both did that.

In October, Hanscom nominated Wight to serve on the committee, but her motion died because Morton refused to second it and Wight couldn’t second it. So Wight nominated Morton and Hanscom seconded it, placing Morton on the committee.

In other board business Wednesday night, Code Enforcement Officer Dave Bonney told selectmen he would like them to assemble a Road Committee. Bonney also said as far as he knows, engineer Joe Aloisio is working out a bid invitation and contract package for the Letter S hill project.

Town meeting voters Tuesday night agreed to raise and appropriate $150,000 from taxation and take $150,000 from the capital improvement account to reconstruct, reclaim and repave 1,200 feet of Sunday River Road to include the Letter S hill and a section of road before it. The project calls for reconstructing a stretch between Nordic Knoll subdivision and Letter S swimming hole.

Morton, who was in the audience, volunteered to help new members on the Planning Board. Before he became a selectman three years ago, Morton was a longtime Planning Board member. Three longtime members — Pat Roma, Susan Herlihy and David Walker — are retiring by month’s end.

Town meeting voters approved proposed Planning Board ordinance revisions, one of which reduces the board from seven to five members, with two alternates. Wight said selectmen should appoint Morton to the Planning Board.

“I think it would be foolish not to have Brooksie on there,” Wight said. Morton agreed.

“I would hate to see the town left vulnerable,” Morton said. “They have some complicated issues coming up.”

After some discussion, Hanscom and Administrator Loretta Powers searched through the Planning Board roster and found an open seat, but couldn’t yet appoint Morton. He said he would meet with Planning Board Chairman Roma Wednesday night.

“We’re pretty much guaranteeing you a seat,” Hanscom told Morton.

Selectmen scheduled their next regular meeting for 5 p.m. March 31 in the Town Office, because Selectman Largess and Administrator Powers couldn’t attend the March 17 meeting.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.