Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time to find new Selectmen for next year's town meeting

Hello all!

We have both been gone for a while, busy with family and work stuff.

We hope some people will come forward and run for the three Selecmen positions that will be need to be filled next March.  Newburgh has many well qualified people with great skills, and hope some of them will consider coming forward and running for Selectmen.

 Please consider running and making Newburgh a well managed community.  Thanks.

Claude / Lou

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dunton gets 20 months

from BDN:  Cindy Dunton, the former deputy clerk and treasurer in Newburgh, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison with all but 20 months suspended for embezzling nearly $200,000 from the town since 2006.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sentencing for Cindy Dunton

The sentencing for Cindy Dunton will take place Friday July 1 @ 8:30 am. Her attorney tried to get another continuance, the judge denied it.

There will time set aside for public statements prior to the sentencing, please attend to state your opinion since the judge may give you an opportunity.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog update from Admin.

The purpose of this post is to address a number of questions directed to me, the blog, or the Fixers in general and to clarify the intent of the blog.

Intent of the blog.

The intent of the blog is as stated on the opening page: “This blog was created to enable residents of Newburgh to discuss political affairs with each other. Please be courteous.”

Lately, and to my disappointment, is has evolved into a ping pong arena where personal slams are passed back and forth. I realize that venting is important but when it has reached the point where other people are discouraged from adding their insights and observations the intent of the blog is no longer being served.

Therefore from here on comments that do not further the intent of the blog will be moved to the Hash and Bash postings. The comments will not be deleted unless there is a threat of physical violence, or are so inflammatory they would never be used in any other circumstance except where anonymity allows extremes.

In reply to the suggestion to take the blog down. Two reasons were given for this. One was that the blog had deteriorated to the web equivalent of the Jerry Springer Show. Hopefully this was properly addressed in the above paragraph.

The second was that there was no longer any need for the blog. A tangential comment to this was that the Fixers are no more. For me to reply to this I need to make clear I am only speaking for myself. The people that are and have been involved with our group are a very diversified group, ranging from tea baggers to union organizers. We would probably not ever be in the same room were it not for the compelling need we felt to fix the problems in our town.

My main concern, aside from the financial irregularities, was to make the legislative branch of our municipal government viable again. Consider for a moment in the past (2005-2009) an average 20 people attended the annual town meeting, the selectmen exceeded budget lines and in effect legislated where they thought the town should go. Another example is the last administration not including in the town meeting articles a discount for taxpayers that pay early and monies donated to various agencies like the Red Cross and Penquis CAP and Spruce Run. These have always been part of the articles. These administrative actions border on disdain for the voters and could only occur where the townspeople were apathetic or felt discouraged (might be one and the same) about what power they had to influence the direction of the town.

Change has begun to happen. Next year we will go to an administrative assistant/selectmen form of government. This will make the town employees responsible to the selectmen, one step closer to the townspeople. There will be 5 selectmen therefore more diversity and representation (and hopefully expertise on the board). These steps will help empower the townspeople.

Questions asked:

A question that was asked in various forms was is there a need for the Fixers or this blog. I say yes. I believe there are a number of major and minor issues that are the responsibility of or would empower the electorate that need to be addressed. Of the top of my head they include:

• What should we do about a municipal facility? Will the school meet our needs? Some have said is costing too much (we have yet to get a reliable cost estimate for being at the school), others have said we would be better off building our own facility, yet others have advocated moving back to the old town office.

• Changing to a line item budget. Presently budget items are grouped together and do not allow a person to vote on individual items. Granted we do not need to vote on pencil and paper but when the administrative budget has grown over 120% in ten years items that constitute the major portions of this item need to be understood and voted on. The same thing with roads; identify which road repair is being proposed and let the townspeople decide (versus this year where only a total sum was voted on, then is was at the discretion of the manager).

• Going to a referendum budget vote versus a town meeting. In the 20 plus town where this has been implemented the involvement of the electorate has increased 5 to 10 times. How this works is that the townspeople vote by secret ballot (at the same time they are voting for selectmen) for the following years’ budget.

• A town survey asking various questions about the direction the town should go.

• Town office hours that would be most helpful to townspeople (versus the staff).

Implied in the question is that because we have a new administration there is no need for the Fixers or the blog. This is naïve. The legislative branch as we learned from the failures of the past must be an active part of town government. In whatever way the blog can assist in this it will.

We need to have an active, empowered legislature to have a healthy community. We need to have people do their civic duty, call them Fixers, concerned citizens or if you do not like the above simply call them townspeople. Regardless of the title, citizens will now (fingers crossed) be involved in their town or as the last line of the fixers mission statement says : “We will not abdicate our responsibilities as Newburgh citizens again.” .

Hopefully we will get beyond the divisiveness that has occurred in the last year, although going by the comments left last week there will be remnants for a while. We hope those that do not agree with the direction of the town use a positive approach and use the same tools we had/have at our disposal: petitions, education of the electorate, and participation at meetings with articulated and researched facts and concerns.

Thank you for indulging me in this rather long dissertation, I promise not do to be so verbose next time.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Newburgh administrator hired after mass resignations

From Bangor Daily News:
The town of Newburgh hired an interim town manager Monday, four days after the sudden resignations of Town Manager Rick Briggs and two other employees.                      

 Welcome to Newburgh!
We also have a new town clerk, so the town office is open for townspeople.
The town office hours have changed.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Don't know the hours yet, but will post them when I get them.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Newburgh town employees resign en masse

From Bangor Daily News:
A routine Board of Selectmen workshop ceded to drama when Town Manager Rick Briggs, Assistant Town Clerk Jill Gilman and Town Clerk Lois Libby, who has worked in the Newburgh town office for 32 years, all resigned effective immediately.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Election Results

We now have two new Selectmen : Steve Burgess and Craig Toothaker.
Congratulations and best wishes to both of them .
Thank you to Cindy Prescott, Charlie Gibbs, and Jeff Watson for coming forward and offering their time and skills to what is pretty much a thankless job. We hope they will stay involved in town affairs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't know if this is real or not. Does anyone know?

Bangor Daily News: Newburgh embezzler says worst is behind her

Asked what motivated her to steal, Dunton said a big part of the reason was because it was easy.
“There was no oversight,” she said. “Nobody ever checked anybody in the town office.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dunton enters guilty plea in $200,000 embezzlement from Newburgh

Thistle told reporters after Monday’s hearing that he hopes Dunton’s guilty plea, along with her previous lack of a criminal record, will persuade the court to impose a sentence at the low end of that range. He said other municipal embezzlement convictions in Maine have resulted in sentences of anywhere from nine months to three years. However, Dunton’s sentencing hearing will involve testimony from witnesses, including numerous Newburgh residents who are furious with her for what she did.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Candidates for 2nd Selectmen

Charlie Gibbs
Craig Toothacker
Jeff Watson

The person elected would be in office until town meeting of 2012.

Candidates for 1st Selectmen

Steve Burgess

Cindy Prescott

The person elected would be in office until town meeting of 2013.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Selectmen Elections

There will be an election on April 13, 2011 for the two currently vacant selectmen positions. Nominations papers are available at the town office to interested parties.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elections results

Mike Burns 199
Skip Smith 139

Congratulations to Mike.

And thank you Skip for all the hard work you did
for the town, especially last spring with those long days
at the town office.

Administrative Assistant

yes 187
no 143

Recall petition

yes 222
no 103

3 to 5 selectmen

yes 188
no 143

Kudos to all that worked very hard to make this happen

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Absentee Ballot format

Please note the application for absentee ballot in the town report (page 63) is in error. One does not need to be a "immediate family member” in order to submit a absentee ballot application.

This is clearly stated in Title 21-A section 753-A-3.

“The voter may designate an immediate family member or a 3rd person to deliver the ballot on the voter's behalf.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

District Attorney, Chris Almy says investigation still ongoing.

We are pleased to hear this. Our opinion has always been that there has more money embezzled then what the auditor had reported. We have presented these findings to Chris Almy. Since Cindy Dunton is cooperating he should simply ask her if our findings are accurate.

No plea entered at arraignment on January 21,2011

Cindy Dunton entered no plea at the arraignment, the judge entered not guilty on her behalf. Next hearing is on March 14, 2011, this is then the lawyers will decide if there will be a trial or they have negotiated a penalty.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Channel 2 interview

Is case you have not seen it here is the link to the Channel 2 interview done on 1/6/11.