AUBURN — Seeking to make its meetings more transparent, the Androscoggin County Commission is considering placing all nonconfidential materials included in its meeting packets on the county’s website and in emails to municipal officials.

The change was suggested by Commissioner Isaiah Lary of Wales, who said making that information more available would allow citizens to know what the county is doing.

Lary pointed to a proposed bylaw change that was listed in Wednesday’s agenda, but the exact wording of the change was not available to the public.

Lary said such a change would be “a positive step that all towns, all cities can get that information. And they can choose what to do with it.”

Androscoggin County only posts the agenda in advance and the minutes after they are approved by the board. Administrator Larry Post added that the agenda and minutes are also emailed to municipal officials.

Commissioners liked Lary’s idea, and Post thought it was doable. Commissioners John Michael of Auburn, Sally Christner of Turner and Terri Kelly of Mechanic Falls all spoke in favor of the change and offered Lary some ideas and suggestions so he could write up a policy to be voted on at the next meeting.


The proposed bylaw change to allow commissioners the freedom to hold one meeting a month, as the county charter states, instead of requiring two, as the bylaws say, ran into a technical glitch. Auburn City Councilor Andrew Titus, a member of the county budget committee, correctly pointed out that changing the bylaws require a “majority-plus-one” vote. With seven commissioners, five votes are needed to pass such a change.

Requiring two readings to pass a change to the bylaws, the vote two weeks ago on the first reading was 4-2 in favor. But that meant the vote did not pass, said Titus, who felt commissioners needed to meet twice a month on a set schedule to not confuse the public if they wanted to attend meetings.

But commissioners, who again had six members with John Butler of Lewiston absent, were already considering passing the second reading. Instead of tabling the measure, Lary called the question, forcing a vote. Once again, the vote was 4-2 with Lary and Brian Ames of Lewiston voting against, which effectively killed the proposal.

Lary has offered his own amendment that would keep the two-meetings-per-month mandate and drop the word “workshop” from the type of meeting required by the bylaws. Under Lary’s proposal, the board must hold two business meetings per month instead of the option of one meeting and a workshop.

The first reading of that change will be heard at the next meeting June 5.

Lary continued his recent practice of preventing any motion from passing unanimously. In five votes, Lary cast the only no vote four times, including routine items such as tabling the approval of the minutes, approving the warrants and the treasurer’s report, and moving into executive session to discuss the labor contract with the union. Lary serves on the negotiating team.


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