GORHAM — The Town Council Tuesday sent a resolution aimed at ending systemic racism back for some editing.

The lengthy resolution was drafted by a community group, including students.

While none of the councilors were opposed to the measure in general, there were objections to some of its wording, including a portion that said the Town Council should partner with all town departments and members of the public “to assure equal justice for all” and prevent any form of police misconduct.

Town Councilor James Hager said the council should not be partnering with police.

“We need to edit this,” Hager said, but added he didn’t want the resolution “to fall by the wayside.”

In an Aug. 3 letter to the council, Charlie Pearson, a lawyer and former judge who lives in Gorham, said, “I applaud your effort to stamp out racial discrimination and any inequality in our justice system,” but he raised several concerns with the resolution’s wording.

Councilor Benjamin Hartwell said he wanted time to review Pearson’s letter.

Councilor Virginia Wilder Cross, who sponsored the resolution at the request of the community group,  said Wednesday that she, Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, Police Chief Christopher Sanborn, school officials, two students and another adult weighed in to edit the resolution before sending it to the council.

“The green light was given by all who contributed,” Cross said.

The council voted 5-1, with Councilor Janet Kuech opposed and Suzanne Phillips absent, to table the resolution until September.

Cross worried that the measure wouldn’t be revisited once tabled.

“I don’t want it dropped,” she said.

 

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