Franklin Countys First News

New Sharon selectman to resign at next meeting

Left to right is Moderator Richard Thompson with Town Clerk Susan Anneley, Selectperson Maynard Webster, Selectperson Forrest Bonney and Selectperson Lorna Nichols.

At the annual town meeting (left to right) is Moderator Richard Thompson with Town Clerk Susan Anneley, Selectman Maynard Webster, Selectman Forrest Bonney and Selectperson Lorna Nichols. Webster was not reelected at Saturday's town meeting, with Bonney resigning as of March 18.

NEW SHARON – The Board of Selectmen has lost more than four decades of experience in less than a week, after another member indicated today they would be resigning from the board.

Selectman Forrest Bonney will be resigning from the board at the conclusion of the March 18 meeting, the selectman confirmed today. His resignation follows voters choosing not to reelect incumbent First Selectman Maynard Webster at Saturday's town meeting. Challenger Travis Pond was elected with 127 votes to Webster's 83 votes.

Webster had nearly 40 years on the board. Forrest had served one year following the premature departure of another selectman in 2012, before being reelected to a 3-year term in 2013.

That leaves two selectmen on the board: Selectman Lorna Nichols, who was elected in 2014, and Pond.

In a letter Bonney had previously sent to Nichols and Pond, he indicated that he felt it had been "shortsighted" for residents to unseat Webster, as he had been the board member that best understood town administration.

"Although I have three years of experience, there are still many aspects of the job that I am not well versed in," Bonney wrote. "If he had been reelected for one more term, I'm sure that Lorna and I would have had adequate experience to continue in his absence."

Bonney provided a list of items that selectmen would need to take over, following Webster's departure. These include an on-call point of contact for general assistance requests and concealed weapon permit renewals.

He also suggested scheduling a special town meeting to fill his vacant seat. He noted that at that meeting, funding could be allocated for assessing services if that was the direction the board wanted to move in.

Bonney is referring to one cut approved by residents at Saturday's meeting. It was proposed by Pond, who suggested lowering selectman pay from $7,000 annually to $5,000 annually and putting that $6,000 toward assessing services. Currently, the board members serve as assessors.

Pond said that his logic for the reduction to the selectman pay was to have the town seek assistance from a professional tax assessment service, causing an equivalent reduction in the town officer duties. At the town meeting, Pond recommended the addition of $10,000, the re-appropriated $6,000 plus another $4,000 out of surplus, to the Administrative Expenses line to go toward assessing services. However, Webster suggested that a special town meeting would be required to add those funds, as "assessing services" did not appear in that article, and no amendment was ever made.

In his letter, Bonney said that while he was happy to answer questions or assist the board in the transition, he stood "firm" in his decision.

"I have given it much thought," Bonney said.

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29 Responses »

  1. Good to hear! We need some young blood in the town to bring us in to the 21st century!

  2. I was quite surprised at the defeat of Maynard Webster as First Selectman. The thought that came to my mind right away was that the new First Selectman, Mr. Pond, has a carload of learning to do in a very short time. The Selectman's job is very very much more complicated and involved than when I was on the New Sharon Board. The State and Feds has complicated life for those on select boards with all sorts of new mandates, duties. and complications. Mr. Webster is a well trained and very experienced assessor. I'm also sorry Mr. Bonney has decided to leave the board. Cutting the pay of the Selectmen was not a good idea given all the duties and headaches the Selectman's job entails. The town has some problems it seems to me.

  3. It was a mistake to LOWER the salaries after they have been the same for the last 10 years.

    We've gone from having 42 years of experience - 38 for Maynard 3 for Forrest 1 for Lorna - to 1 year.

  4. So I assume there is no reason why Maynard Webster couldn't be elected to the position vacated by Bonney? Maybe it's time to move from 3 selectman to 5, so that a loss of a single selectman or two would not have such an adverse effect on the town at large.

  5. We all must start somewhere. I think Mr. Pond has a wealth of knowledge to bring to New Sharon. The only problem this town has is over spending! I also find it sad that we fund more money to the snowmobile club than we do more important groups such as the women's advocacy group and the literacy volunteers group. Luckily we did change that this year but we need to get our priorities straight. Why does a small town need a $443,000 surplus seeing we vote for all expenditures at the annual town meeting?

    Lets not forget that Lorna has years of experience with the chamber of commerce and Mr. Pond has a knowledge of management through his years in the Military. Good luck Mrs. Nichols and Mr. Pond. I wish you well & I have the utmost faith in your decisions.

  6. Opponents of reelecting New Sharon selectmen keep saying we need a change, apparently something is wrong, but they never seem to say what is wrong and why we needed a change. My guess is that the loss of experienced selectmen is going to cost the taxpayers money.

  7. It is unfortunate that an experienced selectman has chosen to leave the board over this rather than stay and help the "new blood".

  8. I'm thinking that when someone speaks of our town getting into the 21st century they are speaking of having more town services available online. Paying taxes, reviewing documents like tax maps, registering vehicles are a few things we could do. It would lighten the town clerks duties as well as allowing residents to get things done when it's convenient for them rather than during the town offices limited hours.

    Let's also have the State Police handle the CWP, it will only cost the town $25.00 to have them take over that responsibility.

  9. The town residence voted Travis in, a win by 44 votes. It appears to me most in this town are ready for a much needed change. I wish Travis the best, he has what it takes to make these changes in our town.

    Travis
    This town does need to be brought into the 21st century. Current hours at the town office do NOT accommodate for the working folks who work 2+ hours from New Sharon M-S. There are several services out there available (like Bruce mentions). Registering a vehicle online would be a huge step in the right direction. 42 years of experience, Travis & Lorna will prove they have what it takes regardless of who has more experience. Don't Judge!

  10. I have been involved with New Sharon politics for a long time. The administration of the town does not look after the townspeople. It's very frustrating trying to get anything done in a timely manner. Hopefully new blood will get the town more efficient to keep the town vibrant and prosperous. We pay thousands in taxes and get very little respect. Best of luck to Travis and Lorna!

  11. so since when is expressing an honest opinion in town affairs considered judgemental?
    might wanna get used to this.

    Big Boy Pants on Please.

    Thin Skinned?

  12. I have to stress to my fellow New Sharon neighbors, they sky is NOT falling. We have resources, like Maine Municipal, Robert's Rules of Order and qualified personnel. Using a culture of fear to bolster and maintain power is never good. I wonder who released this information to the press?

    It was very short sighted for Mr. Webster to not have steered the Town towards a Town Manager. The Town of New Sharon does need to move into the 21st Century. This is why we need a part time 20 hour a week Town Manager. Cut the Selectmen's pay to $2,000.00 per year and the rest can be taken out of other areas. We should put a notice in the paper and hire QUALIFIED part-time Town Manager for $20-$25,000.00 per year. If we hire a qualified Town Manager, he or she would bring us in additional revenue lessening the burden on New Sharon tax payers. The voters spoke.

  13. As Treasurer for the Town, I am very excited to work with Mr. Pond. I am impressed by what he already has done, knows and is willing to do during this transition. His work ethic, business sense and overall persona leaves me pretty impressed. He will compliment Mrs. Nichols perfectly as she has the same characteristics. I am very confident and happy to be working with both of them.

  14. The town is losing a huge resource in Maynard. The town would be better suited in the 21st century with him involved.

  15. Maynard lost by a large margin, fair and square. He won't win if he runs again, because that's not what the townspeople want. He was given a thankfilled ovation and gracious send-off by all assembled. Let it end there. Retire with dignity, Maynard. And enjoy that fishing!

  16. Wow, New Sharon had town meeting less than a week ago and some of you haven’t even given Mr. Pond a chance (I guess that’s politics when the candidate you vote for doesn’t win). It is great you all have your opinions about how the town meeting should have gone, but it seems as though people and articles either got voted in or out by the majority of the people who attended. Therefore, let’s work with what was voted in and be glad there are people willing to take on this thankless job. I appreciate all those who have been in leadership and those who are currently in leadership. They were voted in, and if you weren’t at the meeting to vote, shame on you. I also wish Travis and Lorna the best as they conduct business for New Sharon, and whatever other decisions need to be made involving town leadership. What will be will be, let’s move on!

  17. Clifford Lehigh.... You must not understand all that the selctman's job entails if you want to cut the pay even more ! Everybody wants tax breaks so Instead of paying 3 selectman $7,000 per year $21,000 in total you want to pay them $2,000 per year $6,000 in total plus $25,000 to a town manager bringing the total to 31,000 and also hire an assessor which I believe cost around $10 a parcil and New Sharon is right around 1,200 parcils so thats an additional $12,000 bringing the total to $43,000 ! Maynard was the town assessor and town manager and selectman all for just $7,000. He also kept this town in the black for many years by pinching cost and doing the best for the town. Remember the voters are the ones that ok all money to be raised ! The voters mad a very bad decision and it will likely cost the town a lot of money. If lowering taxes is what you were after you sure did make a mistake.

  18. Dear New Sharon Resident,

    Please re-read what I said. I do understand what a Selectman's job should be very well and what the pay rates are in neighboring and like sized towns. Wilton = $1,800.00 per year. This is the problem. The town pay and duties need to be restructured. Again, additional REVENUE, not additional taxation will pay for this position. An impartial assessor also needs to be appointed. Additional REVENUE certainly will keep us in the black. It's all relative. No mistake here. Thank you for the response though.

    Sincerely,
    Clifford Lehigh

  19. Whether your personal opinion is good bad or indifferent on the recent events in local government, can we please just all slow down and give a person a chance to prove him or herself on their own merits? My suggestion to all those concerned is to be diligent and involved by attending Selectmen meetings every other Wednesday night. I was at the Town meeting and got a good chuckle a number of times when certain persons repeatedly camecame to the mike only to prove their lack of knowledge in municipal government. Yes, change can be uncomfortable but it is a necessary process for growth. I'm sure some future events will prove costly and adjustments will have to be made. But I'm sure others will prove advantageous and justify the expense. If you really want to take task with something, may I refer you to the pie shaped graph of spending in the first few pages of the Town Report. Better than 50 percent of taxes went to RSU9. Actual expenses in things such as running the Town office, salaries, charitable donations were small. It amazed at the meeting how we quibbled over $500 for snowblowing on Rt 2, charitable contributions to organizations like the Red Cross and Healthy Community Coalitions. And salaries for town officials, I'm sure those that opposed an increase for the towns clerk who was only trying to show a need to provide more open office hours, would not appreciate her telling you what your job is and what it is worth. So again, I encourage those that wish to judge New Sharon government, show up every other Wednesday, get some education on municipal government, give the new board a chance or shut up.

  20. Just for the record there have been 2 posts from (New Sharon Resident) these are 2 different people.

  21. Kudos to the treasurer! New Sharon is a small town of some 1200 people.people voted at town meeting , let's let things move forward.its too bad Mr. Bonney thought it best to quit instead of help.but I'm sure Travis and Lorna and our other employees of the town will all get town our "small" town business done.

  22. Hmmmm! Let's see now, We have a sum of one year's experience now on the board. We'll have, no doubt, another elected to replace Mr. Bonney, that has no experience either. Just how is that going to work out for a very complicated job that is full of headaches. Hmmmm??

  23. Have Faith

    Why do some people assume that because Mr Webster had 38 years experience, that he is any smarter than Travis or Lorna? I assume he got his experience from work shops, asking question, and listening to what the townspeople want, as well as directions from the Maine Municipal Association. Don't you doubters think younger people can do the same? Every new job is a learning experience. I congratulate you Travis. I liked your resume!

  24. The problem of "Two New Sharon Residents" would be solved if we all used our real names, and the content of the comments would improve. How about it, Bulldog?

  25. I agree Tom Knight. Full transparency.

    Sincerely,

    Clifford Lehigh

  26. Ms. Cox, you seem to have confused experience with intelligence ("smartness"). They are different. Who is smarter is not at issue. If you consulted a doctor for a for diagnosis, would you trust the judgment of a doctor who has just graduated from med school or a doctor with 40 years dealing with the condition you are asking about? I know who I would consult for the most reliable answer. I wish Mr. Pond the best of luck. .

  27. The problem with your analogy Bill is that a Doctor with 40 years experience is not required to keep up to date with modern medical practices. I probably would go to the younger as most young people to a new job bring energy and up to date training.

    Sometimes, the older more experience or set in their ways and those ways may not match what is desired by ALL the residents.

  28. I've lived in New Sharon for several years now but due to my work schedule am unable to make evening meetings or go to Saturday events. I was therefore excited to have the day off to go to annual meeting: to see friends and meet new people, ask questions, learn more about my town, have my opinions changed or supported ... all the trimmings of what this event is supposed to be about. And all that happened. Which is why I am so disheartened now by all the negativity and backbiting I see here. I really hope all this bitterness and anger passes with the winter winds and we can move forward as the good people of New Sharon that I always thought we were.

  29. Bruce, Doctors do have to update their knowledge and get tested on it regularly. My son-in-law is a renown gastro-intestinal oncologist, and has been for many years, He worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan. for twenty years He had to take an exam last year that he had to hit the books to get ready for.

    It is your "probably" and your "sometimes" that demonstrate that you are not convinced that inexperience will win the day.

    Would you rather your airplane pilot, your police detective, your auto mechanic, your lawyer, your plumber, your electrician, your financial advisor, etc. etc. have only a year of experience. Isn't it more likely, and I do mean more likely, that one should always go with experience to be wise?

    I wish Mr. Pond, the people of New Sharon, and whoever replaces Mr. Bonney, the best of luck.

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