SANGERVILLE, Maine — In a Nov. 29 letter, Selectman Irving McNaughton resigned from his position, citing health and other related issues. But his resignation was short-lived. On Dec. 10, McNaughton notified town officials he planned to remain as a board member and participated during the Dec. 11 meeting from Florida over the Internet.
McNaughton presented his resignation letter a few days prior to his departure for Florida. He plans on spending the next 10 weeks in the Sunshine State. The selectmen approved a measure last month that allows him to use videoconferencing technology to participate in the meetings during his extended absence.
The two selectmen attending the Dec. 11 meeting in person responded to McNaughton’s resignation letter by voting not to accept it. McNaughton will continue to participate by Skype until mid-February, when he plans to return from his winter vacation.
In the board’s first attempt at video conference, the audience could view his image on the computer screen, but the audio feed proved to be problematic. Town officials plan on connecting speakers to the computer in hopes of improving future audio transmissions.
“It worked, but it didn’t work real well. The video was fine, but the audio was just awful.” Town Manager Dave Pearson said. “The audience couldn’t hear him at all, so a selectman had to relay what he was saying.”
In other action, the selectmen were informed that the state Department of Environmental Protection agency had approved the removal of contaminated soil from the Abbie Fowler lot. CES Inc. of Brewer, an engineering consulting firm, discovered 1 cubic foot of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls last month on the former school grounds.
CES was excepted to remove the contamination on Dec. 10, but the appointment was postponed until Dec. 13 due to poor weather. Town officials were also to meet with the Abbie Fowler Committee on Dec. 18 to consider disposal options for the building.
The town voted two years ago to have the former school building demolished. Those efforts to demolish the building have been delayed over environmental concerns about disposing of the PCBs located within the building.
“We need to have another discussion about the cost of demolishing the building and the possibility of replacing it with something else,” Pearson said.
The board also received a legal opinion from Maine Municipal Association’s senior staff attorney, Rebecca Warren Seel, that the Sangerville Public Library was a private organization, not a public one. The attorney indicated that since the library association was not created by either the board of selectmen or by a town meeting’s legislative body, the organization is a private organization.
Since the Sangerville Public Library is a private group, it is not required to allow public attendance during its business meetings or respond to Freedom of Access Act requests.
The selectmen will meet next at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, in the municipal building.