Guest Post: Appointments, by Don Libby
Well, another round of appointments have taken place in New Gloucester and once again I witnessed a Board of Municipal Officers do a disservice to a volunteer. At the appointments last year, then Municipal Officer Bragdon stated that the legal opinion of the towns attorney was that there had to be a bonafide reason to not reappoint someone that reapplied because you were in essence removing them without just cause. This is a truth. If the town has to go thru a process to terminate an employee and show a just reason, then wouldn’t someone serving on a standing Board or Committee not be given the same consideration? Examples of a bonafide cause might be not attending meetings or doing something as part of the committee that would incur legal expense by the town. There have been times, more often than not, that people would apply for a committee because there have not been enough people on the committee for the committee to function, then when a reappointment was to take place it seemed to be forgotten.
In our standing Committee and Board application there is the statement that a consideration would be taken in account on whether or not the applicant is already serving on another Board or Committee. Makes sense if it was going to be a total new committee for that person. This on the other hand should not make any difference at all if it is very specific short term committee for a particular project. An example was the committee that was formed for the Public Works garage. It made perfect sense to appoint someone who had decades experience in service facilities regardless if they sat on another committee.
If someone who has served their town and contributed in the process and is not reappointed, what message does that send to that person and to the rest of the town? I have seen this happen a number of times and the message was clear. The town was moving on from your dedication. I have seen people walk away and never volunteer again and in almost every instance the person that replaced them was a one and done. Did not reapply.
One also hears that maybe we need to implement a process where “candidates” need to be put thru a grading or some sort of process where qualifications need to be looked at. Where qualifications should be looked at as in the example of the Public Works garage above. This is not one of New Gloucester’s standing Boards or Committees. It is recognized that our standing Boards and Committees are to be a cross section of our population. To require qualifications other than what is spelled out in our Charter is a very elitist view for our standing Boards and Committees. You would be basically telling people in our town that if you do not have a degree you would not be considered for an appointment. If we don’t require these type of qualifications of our Municipal Officers, how can they require them in the appointment to our standing Boards and Committees?
What needs to be remembered is that our Volunteers are that - volunteers.
*This is a guest post by Don Libby. The views expressed by Don Libby are not endorsed by the New Gloucester GOP. Anyone wishing to submit opinion articles may do so at email@example.com