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Wednesday, May 22, 2013: Certified public accountants, LePage and new thinking

CPA work lessons

I don’t condone Bruce Fowle’s behavior. As a certified public accountant, he violated the public trust and damaged the profession, but other certified public accountants could learn a lesson from his situation.

In my opinion, too many sole proprietor certified public accountants charge too little for their services, taking pride in working 80-plus hours a week during tax season for insufficient pay.

Certified public accountants work hard to pass the rigorous exam and spend a lot of time and money to stay licensed and current with the complex regulations. They are held liable for anything that goes wrong regardless of who is at fault.

The only product they have to sell is their expertise with time as the measurement. When sole proprietor certified public accountants take a vacation or are ill, they aren’t making money. A serious illness can be devastating.

Consumers spend huge amounts for car repairs, yet quibble over a $300 tax return that takes several hours to prepare. Unless certified public accountants learn to value themselves, the service they provide and bill accordingly, they put themselves at financial risk.

I only met Fowle once when he volunteered as a merit badge counselor. I am saddened by his very difficult situation and wish him the best. But, I hope certified public accountants will see what can happen if they continue to undervalue their services.

Susan Edwards


Standing up to the bully

Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York, deserves a pat on the back for having the courage to stand up to the bully in the governor’s office at a special legislative meeting on May 19.

Bravo for not letting Gov. Paul LePage ruin the non-partisan process. I hope Hill’s example will inspire the rest of the people we have elected to do our business. The state Constitution provides separation of powers. It would be nice if LePage respected that Constitution.

Carol Latta



Time to think differently

During the “Golden Age of Sail,” no town in the 19th century prospered like Searsport. According to the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport was home to 500 sea captains, 10 percent of America’s masters of the sea. More amazing was how they drew their sustenance from each other: meeting together the challenges of the sea, Maine winters and disease, while finding meaning and love in life.

As the 20th century dawned, an industrial and corporate fever swept the land. The new captains of America sold everything the citizens had made and grown, according to the book, “Abundant Communities.”

Air, water, soil, food, the oceans and human life absorbed the consequences of the thinking, “I’ll sell you what you want as long as I will benefit more than you.”

In 40 years, health care expenditures have increased 20 fold, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Research in 1980 asked large numbers of people how many friends they had, according to the book, “The Bully Society.” I was told by the book’s author that the average answer was five. Thirty years later, 25 percent had no friends; 50 percent had one.

You and I are the answer. Treat people the way you want them to treat you. Restore relationships, families and community ties.

Maine has the capacity to feed itself. Fallow farmland, local farmers markets, community supported agriculture and school initiatives are raring to go.

The Maine Center for Disease Control must devote its resources for public health to healthy communities coalitions like the volunteer-driven organization in Bucksport Bay. This coalition takes us back to the self-sustaining community of Searsport during the Golden Age of Sail.

Thomas J. Gaffney, Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition, president

Stockton Springs

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