May 24, 2018
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Rockport delays charter change

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKPORT, Maine — The Select Board decided Tuesday evening not to put a town charter amendment on the town’s warrant for this year.

The proposed amendment would have specified that board members may enter into business contracts with the town so long as they go through the competitive bidding process.

The amendment was proposed amid a controversy in the town regarding two Select Board members who have done more than $120,000 of paid work for the town in their time as board members.

Some Rockport residents believe the work is against the town’s charter, which states that Select Board members “shall not have a business relationship with the Town for which they receive compensation.”

No board member made a motion to add the amendment to the town warrant. According to Vice Chairman William Chapman, the town did not meet all of the state’s legal requirements for advertising the proposed changes.

State law requires that a municipality publish a notice stating it will hold a meeting about changing the charter. Although Rockport did this, it failed to give an explanation of the proposed amendment as law requires, according to Chapman.

“Because it appeared we didn’t meet every step, we didn’t want to do something that would have a repercussion down the road,” Chapman said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We don’t want to skip one step and find out we have to do it all over again.”

Chapman said many people felt the board was moving too quickly on this issue.

The Select Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at the Rockport Opera House to discuss whether the actions of the board members who did work with the town were in violation of the town’s charter and whether they are qualified to remain on the board.

Those two members, Thomas Farley and Chairman Robert Duke, did not attend the April 20 meeting, as they were on vacation, according to Town Clerk Linda Greenlaw.

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