City Council positions, charter changes on Ellsworth ballot

Posted Oct. 21, 2011, at 8:27 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 8 to fill five positions on the City Council and other local boards as well as to decide whether to rewrite the city charter to clarify when and how council meetings must be advertised.

Incumbent city councilors John Moore and John Phillips are seeking election to another 3-year term on the council. A third candidate, Roger Lessard, is also running for one of the two available seats. Voters will be instructed to vote for any two of the three candidates.

Two current members of the Ellsworth Library Board of Trustees — Wendy Lessard and Raymond Williams — are also seeking re-election to the board in a race with no other declared candidates. And Richard Gray is seeking another 3-year term as one of Ellsworth’s representatives on the RSU 24 school board.

Ellsworth residents will also cast votes on one local referendum question in addition to the four statewide referenda on the ballot.

Question 1 on the local ballot asks voters whether the municipality should change the wording of the city charter regarding advertising of city council meetings.

Ellsworth City Clerk Heidi Noel Grindle said a new charter approved by residents last year requires officials to both post the full agenda of council meetings in City Hall and publish a legal ad in a local newspaper at least five business days before the meeting. But Grindle said the council’s meeting dates and the publication schedule of The Ellsworth American, which is a weekly paper, often requires the city to run ads for two weeks to comply with the language.

The proposed change would keep the requirement that the agenda be posted in City Hall at least five business days before the meeting. However, the reworded charter language removes the 5-day requirement for publication of a legal ad, thereby allowing the ad to be placed in the paper immediately before the meeting. Grindle said that was the policy before last year’s charter changes.

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