Thursday, April 13, 2006

Committee meetings may actually be Council meetings

It seems our illustrious Town Council is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the citizens of Gray.

The council asked for volunteers for its Finance Committee, but was unable to fill the committee seats. So council members have been filling in as the Finance Committee.

The only problem with that is the three council members - Chair Gary Foster, Vice-Chair Andy Upham, and Councilor Skip Crane - make up a council quorum when they meet. This smacks of violation of all sorts of rules about Council meetings . . . such as the requirement that Council meetings be properly "noticed" or announced to the public. The Finance Committee is meeting very quietly and without a lot of notice. Chair Foster is contacting the Portland Press-Herald to announce meetings on short notice, which meets the letter of the law for announcing committee meetings. But because he is not announcing these as Council meetings, the Council appears to be in violation of other rules. Where is the hue and cry from the Council about these spurious meetings?

Councilor Denise Duda was indignant that the GPLA, a town organization, was required to properly "notice" its meeting with neighbors to discuss the impact of the expansion on the neighborhood. And that was a non-meeting since only two members of the GPLA were actually at the meeting. She is curiously quiet about the fact that three members of the Council are having meetings that are essentially unannounced.The hypocrisy of these actions is astounding. How can Foster, Upham and Crane find fault with other committees for how they conduct meetings, when they are conducting what appear to be illegal meetings themselves?

Nathan Tsukroff