"Regionalization"

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"Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:30 am

There has been much discussion on other forums/blogs regarding the efforts to "regionalize". In our current economy, we need to look at ways to share services and costs with other towns. While some advocate for town mergers, I do not agree. I believe we can find savings without losing our municipal identities.

The latest issue being thrashed around is the sharing of a town manager. The SJ has manipulated the facts to make it look as if the Rumford Selectmen are refusing to call for a vote on the Charter change that would allow for this to happen. The real truth is that they cannot call a special election to make such a change. Despite previous practice, the rules require an emergency for a special election to be called. Previous boards had a very loose definition of "emergency" as a part of their ends-justifies-the-means mentality, but this board is more respectful of the letter and intent of the rules. That being said, even if a vote were taken and the rule changed, the board would not be required to automatically appoint Madigan as our town manager. The vote would authorize, not mandate the action.

When you think it through logically, it doesn't make sence. To ask any person to fill two full time positions of this type concurrently is foolhearty. Both Jim Doar and Len Greaney will tell you that the work load in Rumford cannot be done in a 25 hour week (that is what they figured when dividing the week). If we are to operate our town and work toward growth, we need someone there 40+ hours a week. Likewise, Mexico could hardly operate with their town manager/ welfare director/ ??????? present only 15 hours a week. it has been said that others could help him with his duties, but that opens the question as to whether they would have to neglect their duties, or whether their position has so much free time that it could be reduced/eliminated. It didn't work wneh Mexico chose to share John with Dixfield, and it is a much smaller community than Rumford. I believe that we can best work to consolidate our community services with dedicated individuals in charge of each town.

I do believe we can work ut a plan for the sharing of a Fire Chief. The position is much different than the town manager position. The duties are different and Mexico doesn't have a full time position. Gary has worked as a fire chief for many years and knows the ins and outs of the position. He is a strong administrative leader and is well respected in the firefighting community. I appreciate the work that Richard has done. I know he has years of being a firefighter and is likely highly qualified to lead a fire scene. However, given the condition of our economy, the status of our town, and the level of administrtive expertise needed to move us forward, I believe Gary would be better for our town at this point. In this case, a shared chief can better work toward "regionalization". I would like to see Rumford Fire, Mexico Fire and Med-care in a new co-located building in the next five years. I believe Gary has what is needed to pull this together if he sees it is the best option. Also, it makes sense for our emergency planning to be done together. We are two towns, but one community.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:41 pm

How are you defining "identities"? We already refer to ourselves as the River Valley area. Sharing a name and becoming one community would offer us the benefit of attracting larger businesses that use population demographics to choose their locations. Also it would offer us savings in group purchases where quantity lowers the price. I'm sure towns/cities with larger populations than ours combined with Mexico make due with one town manager. I think where the problem lies is in the separation of all the accounts and budgets which is twice the work, but I don't think two separate managers could easily merge these unless there were two town managers working under the employment of both towns with the goal of merging as many of these accounts as possible. Does that make sense? Perhaps even temporarily other town employees would help with this task taking some of the burden off the managers. If we used Len Greaney to help work through this alongside Madigan, maybe by next June we could be organized enough to share Madigan as a town manager. Or even the savings of a shared TM would allow the hiring of another employee to serve as an aide as needed. I too think Wentzell is an excellent choice for our FD, if he is willing given the political climate.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:37 pm

Town identity is important to many people. Marketing an area need not include merging towns. If you look at areas such as Sugarloaf (Carrabassett Valley, Kingfield) and Sunday River (Newry, Bethel) you see one economic community with their own identities, but still part of a marketing area. Towns need not combine to take advantage of group purchases (which by its name indicates more than one entity). Our towns already co-buy items and save money.

Sharing a town manager with two separate budgets is problematic at best. It opens the door for possible fraud down the line. Too many numbers in too few hands cause temptation. If we are going to share certain services and purchases, we could manage it under a quazi-municipal organization. Perhaps Madigan could be the head of the organization, perhaps not. If enough of the services (police, fire, public works, welfare, code enforcement, parks, libraries, tax collector, assessors, and town clerk) are under the quazi-municipal organization, there will be little, if any, need for a town manager in either town. I don't think we need to go to that extreme. I would like to see emergency services brought together.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:47 pm

The towns that neighbor ski areas are relying quite heavily on the marketing and popularity of the resorts and are even perhaps overshadowed by them. I wouldn't even remember the name Kingfield if I were headed that way, I'd most likeley say "I'm headed over to the Sugarloaf area" or might remember to call it Carabassett Valley. With all our towns combined we have nothing like that to rely on. River Valley could be marketed for its beauty and outdoor recreation but using each town's name is dividing a market that already isn't that large and can be confusing for potential visitors. I personally think combining as much as possible under the name River Valley and marketing it as such could be a huge step forward economically. Areas like Smithville and Virginia have still kept their "identities" perhaps that concept would work for us.
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REGIONALIZATION

Post by johnnyg on Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:47 am

Each time I pass thru Canton I am amazed at the new fire station and garage. It was all accomplished with volunteer help and town funds. Why can't Rumford accomplish the same thing. With all the skilled people in this community, including retirees, I think most people would give a day a month to accomplish this. The town could help when possible and a sense of pride would be one of the by-products. Just a thought.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:14 pm

johnnyg wrote:Each time I pass thru Canton I am amazed at the new fire station and garage. It was all accomplished with volunteer help and town funds. Why can't Rumford accomplish the same thing. With all the skilled people in this community, including retirees, I think most people would give a day a month to accomplish this. The town could help when possible and a sense of pride would be one of the by-products. Just a thought.

If only we had community minded people who would volunteer their time to coordinate such an effort. There were a couple of guys who used to do that (information booth, indian sillhouettes, Paul Bunyan relocation and overhaul, etc.) but their enthusiasm has been cut down, chopped and split since their last volunteer effort. After the fiasco experienced over their efforts, I don't believe you will see any such community volunteer efforts in this town for a while, but I may be wrong.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:40 pm

You must admit the last volunteer effort (if you'd call it that) by those "couple of guys" was presumptuous to say the least.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by T on Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:02 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:After the fiasco experienced over their efforts, I don't believe you will see any such community volunteer efforts in this town for a while, but I may be wrong.

What "they" did had absolutely nothing to do with volunteerism. Their "fiasco" wouldn't deter me, as I would follow proper procedure.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:49 pm

Actually, Jim Doar knew about the cutting before they did it. He just didn't have the character to admit it.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by Admin on Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:11 pm

If it's true that Jim Doar knew about the cutting, I have two comments.

First, the selectmen are Jim's boss, not the other way around. I don't know about you but I don't tell my boss what to do.

Second, saying that sounds like a case of making Jim responsible for the actions of the tree cutters. The three tree cutters should have enough “character” to take responsibility for their own behavior.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by T on Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:21 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:Actually, Jim Doar knew about the cutting before they did it. He just didn't have the character to admit it.
You know this how? DiConzo? Boivin? Doar?

So, your point is Jim Doar lacks the same character that Arthur Boivin and Frank DiConzo lack.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:31 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:Actually, Jim Doar knew about the cutting before they did it. He just didn't have the character to admit it.

What could Jim Doar have done about it? Why would he want his name/job etc. to be associated with irresponsible actions he had no control of? Even if a hundred people and The Pope knew beforehand, it doesn't absolve their behavior.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:00 pm

As town manager, it was Jim Doar's responsibility to follow through on the vote of the board. When the three lumberjacks informed him that they intended on doing the job, it was his responsibility to either say yes or no. He decided to resort to a "I don't want to know about it" attitude. When asked if he knew, he denied it. The newspapers picked up on this and ran with it stating that the lumberjacks had snuck our in the dark of night "without permission". By saying that he didn't want to know about it, Jim Doar gave permission by default. The mis-information that resulted from his denial of this fact is what caused the turmoil. Granted, it would have been better if the board had voted to take the action. It would have been better if the lumberjacks had proper gear, but the main issue was the permission. However, that was not the major issue at the time. In an effort to give the young guy a break, they decided not to call him out on his knowledge of the situation. That is just the kind of guys the are. They took a hit to keep their Town Manager from looking bad.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by xmashen on Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:17 pm

a deep hit???? huh????

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by Chuck on Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:55 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:As town manager, it was Jim Doar's responsibility to follow through on the vote of the board. When the three lumberjacks informed him that they intended on doing the job, it was his responsibility to either say yes or no. He decided to resort to a "I don't want to know about it" attitude. When asked if he knew, he denied it. The newspapers picked up on this and ran with it stating that the lumberjacks had snuck our in the dark of night "without permission". By saying that he didn't want to know about it, Jim Doar gave permission by default. The mis-information that resulted from his denial of this fact is what caused the turmoil. Granted, it would have been better if the board had voted to take the action. It would have been better if the lumberjacks had proper gear, but the main issue was the permission. However, that was not the major issue at the time. In an effort to give the young guy a break, they decided not to call him out on his knowledge of the situation. That is just the kind of guys the are. They took a hit to keep their Town Manager from looking bad.

Are you kidding me? I have seen Arthur Boivin literally scream at Jim Doar, during a selectmen meeting, in public and on TV. They weren't going to take a hit for him.

Jim Doar did not have the power to give them guys’ permission. The selectmen had already voted to have the trees taken down, Jim had already told the Town Crew to make it happen and a contractor had already been contacted. It sure sounds like Jim Doar had done his job. These guys just didn't like the pace it was taking so they took the matter into their own hands. It was a clear example of their attitude that they were going to get their way no matter what. If they hadn't had that attitude, it would have been discussed at a selectman's meeting instead of sneaking around.

I find it puzzling that you think the Charter is like the Constitution and that you would “take great offence” to someone not following it, yet you seem to be willing to give a pass to the selectmen that vandalized town property and broke the law. I find it even more puzzling that you want to blame their behavior on the town manager by saying he gave them permission when he clearly did not and had no power to do so.

I agree completely with T. They are responsible for their own behavior. Stop trying to make Jim responsible for it. I think the reason this keeps coming up is because they never have taken responsibility for their own behavior. That seems to be a problem with some of our selectmen.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:03 pm

They took a hit to keep their Town Manager from looking bad.
Do you really believe this or are you taking a "hit" in an attempt to make the selectmen look better? If Jim Doar really did say "I don't want to know about it", I take that as an attempt to distance himself from the fiasco. I'm sure if they alerted him to their plans it was doing him no favor. How long could I expect to keep a job if I were to tell those who hired me what they could/should not do? The simple fact here is that the board of which two of the "lumberjacks" were members of, voted unanimously to have public works deal with the removal of the trees. These two thumbed their noses at the municipal government process they were elected and sworn into. That I take offense to. Here is a quote from one of your posts regarding our FD:
I believe that the firefighters showed little respect for our charter
by violating it. I don't recall any efforts to change the rule. When
you intentionally violate the charter, you might as well be spitting on
the Constitution or urinating on the U.S. Flag. I take great offence to
anyone doing so. I respect the fire department for the work they do,
but I find much of their actions and antics to be offensive. Just my
opinion.

How can you say what you did above and then defend the actions of the selectmen?
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:34 pm

Another case of "double standards": one set of rules for one person, and another set for everyone else.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by xmashen on Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:53 pm

i wonder how long it will take to chop down the trees in lisbon.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by T on Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:21 pm

Mr. Saisi, obviously your point of view is in the minority here. But, it’s refreshing that you are willing to engage in this or any discussion. Even though I usually disagree with you, it’s possible I might learn something from you. The Rumford Reporter “staff” refuses to engage in any discussion and allow anything they say to be questioned. That makes The Rumford Reporter and its “staff” potentially dangerous.

Keep posting…

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:48 pm

You are entitled your opinion. Before we get too far off topic, let's get back to "Regionalization".
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:57 pm

Excellent point T, the purpose of this forum is to encourage contrasting ideas and opinions. I respect anyone who expresses their views regardless of the response. Without that we'd have no basis for debate and would be missing out on a balanced view of the issues and an opportunity to learn and even perhaps in some cases change our views.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by T on Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:37 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:You are entitled your opinion.

And I know it better than anyone. Wink

Well, The Rumford Reporter will not consider anything I have to say until they know who I am. Why? Who I am should be irrelevant. The Rumford Reporter's contention is they are protecting “staff” from slander and harassment by confirming authorship.

That's baloney.

If what I submit is slanderous, harassing, or inappropriate, The Rumford Reporter is not required to publish it.

The Rumford Reporter is hostile to the free exchange of ideas.

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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:05 am

C wrote:
They took a hit to keep their Town Manager from looking bad.
Do you really believe this or are you taking a "hit" in an attempt to make the selectmen look better? If Jim Doar really did say "I don't want to know about it", I take that as an attempt to distance himself from the fiasco. I'm sure if they alerted him to their plans it was doing him no favor. How long could I expect to keep a job if I were to tell those who hired me what they could/should not do? The simple fact here is that the board of which two of the "lumberjacks" were members of, voted unanimously to have public works deal with the removal of the trees. These two thumbed their noses at the municipal government process they were elected and sworn into. That I take offense to. Here is a quote from one of your posts regarding our FD:
I believe that the firefighters showed little respect for our charter
by violating it. I don't recall any efforts to change the rule. When
you intentionally violate the charter, you might as well be spitting on
the Constitution or urinating on the U.S. Flag. I take great offence to
anyone doing so. I respect the fire department for the work they do,
but I find much of their actions and antics to be offensive. Just my
opinion.

How can you say what you did above and then defend the actions of the selectmen?

You make a good point. However, my recollection is that the Public Works Department informed Jim that they could not do the job, which is when the lumberjacks established plan to take care of the job. If the motion is worded to include that the work was to be done exclusively by the Public Works Department, then you are correct. If not, they would be in the clear. Also, it is common to have discussion either before or after the motion. I believe that this may have been the case; the board decided to cut the trees, then Jim commented that he would talk to Andy about it. However, if Public Works was not a part of the motion it were was not a decision of the board, and no violation occurred. Another possibility, and the way I recall it, is that they included in the motion to have the Public Works do the job if they could. This leaves it open ended if they could not, which would put the responsibility for completing the task in the hands if the town manager, and follows logically in the scenario I mentioned above.
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by gadget6412 on Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:25 am

I think there is a little reading into the interpretation of Roberts Rules. If the wording was for the Public Works to do the work if they could and they answered that they could not does not open the matter for anyone to do if the intent was for a competent or liable entity to handle. Was there not a contractor on hold for this action since the PW was not able to perform the function and did not the PW end doing the cleanup?

But back to your regionalization issue. Is there an opening in the charter and/or bylaws to allow these actions? It seems that there was a lot of regionalization from the fire in Mexico in which a fireman was injured. It seems that there can be intertown agreements to fight each others fires but cannot be under one entity. Why is that?
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Re: "Regionalization"

Post by C on Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:41 am

I think our charter needs to be rewritten to accomodate the town's future plans. How do the charters of other River Valley communities compare with ours? It wouldn't do to change ours to allow consolidation if others don't also.
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Re: "Regionalization"

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