Town Administrator Michael Henderson talks about permanent records during an interview in the records vault of the Dresden Town Office on Friday. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

DRESDEN — Print copies of town ordinances and other records that couldn’t be located in December have been found in the town vault, Town Administrator Michael Henderson said this week.

It was, he said, a mistake of poor organization.

First Selectwoman Trudy Foss, who had served as the town’s administrative assistant for nearly three decades, was able to point him to the records.

“I heard him talking to somebody about it at the office one day, that we didn’t have records,” she said earlier this week at a Board of Selectmen meeting. “I said ‘what do you mean you don’t have any records?’ ”

Foss asked Henderson to show him where he was looking, and she told him to turn around and look at a lower shelf, where the permanent records were stored.

“There were records that we had that we didn’t know we had,” Henderson said at the meeting. “We assumed they were somewhere, but we couldn’t find them, so we’re really happy that we have found all of them.”


Earlier this week, Town Clerk Hannah Kutschinski spent a day pulling records and binders out of the vault as the first step to reorganizing the town’s permanent records.

But there’s more work to be done. Some documents filed in the vault don’t belong there, and others have been kept longer than the state records retention law requires, Kutschinski said. To make sure that disposable records are not kept longer than necessary, she was marking folders with disposal dates.

Henderson said the town’s vital statistics are stored in books and they were not clearly labeled. Some of the books that were thought to be missing were actually not far from the vital records books that are used regularly when people request copies of marriage and death certificates.

Henderson said organizing the vault had not been a priority amid other pressing town business.

The missing records came to light in December.

When attorney Ed Dardis made his case that month for a client before the Dresden Appeals Board, he questioned the validity of the town’s Land Use and Planning Ordinance, because no record of it being enacted could be found.

Dardis represents Heather Beasley, owner of the Ballard-Milligan Gravel Corp., on which town officials served a stop-work order in July.

At the time, Henderson said he had found gaps in the town’s records, particularly before 2000, and some of the requested materials weren’t available.

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