Donovan Contributed / Ellie Fellers

The New Gloucester Selectboard made its three appointments to the charter commission April 7,  six months after the deadline to do so.

Selectboard member Tammy Donovan nominated brothers Donald and Steven Libby and Selectboard member Linda Chase to serve on the committee. The motion passed 2-1, with Donovan and Chairperson Karen Gilles voting in favor, Peter Bragdon voting against and Chase abstaining.

Bragdon and residents John Salisbury, Scott Seaver and Dan Ellingson had also applied for seats on the charter commission.

The Selectboard held no discussion before the vote about any of the candidates.

“It is a bit bothersome that we have three people appointed by the Selectboard who all opposed creating a charter,” Salisbury said Tuesday, a statement others have made as well.

“That does not seem like a balanced approach on the part of those who they appointed,” he said.

Voters in November approved the commission, which according to state law, must be comprised of six elected members and three members appointed by the Selectboard. The law also says if commission members are not elected at the same time as the referendum, they must be elected at the next regular or special election. The Selectboard must make its appointments within 30 days after voters approve creating the commission.

Although the missed deadline carries no penalty, the board’s failure to follow the law drew criticism from Bragdon and from former Selectman Steve Hathorne, a member of New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter.

The six remaining commissioners will be elected at the regular municipal elections in June.

Before the Selectboard members voted on the Libbys and Chase, Hathorne urged them to appoint Seaver and Salisbury, who he said have extensive experience with town charters and municipal administration. Hathorne said Seaver was “the most qualified out of all the candidates.”

Donovan wrote in an email Tuesday to the Lakes Region Weekly that all of the candidates were “worthy to be on the commission,” she could only choose three.

“The three that I chose are people that have dedicated much of their lives to the town of New Gloucester through their many years of experience,” she said.

Both Libby brothers currently serve on the Planning Board, with Don as chairperson. Don Libby is also on the Board of Appeals and Steve Libby is on the Budget Committee. Their mother, Jean Libby, also serves on a number of committees. Steve Libby has served seven terms on the Selectboard and at least once as chairperson.

Salisbury helped draft the constitutional amendment that created home rule and town charters in Maine as executive director of the Maine Municipal Association, a post he held from 1966-79. He also worked on the statute that created the guidelines for charter commissions. He has been highly involved in Citizens for a Town Charter.

Seaver served on the North Yarmouth Selectboard and charter commission and for 27 years was North Yarmouth’s town clerk and administrative assistant. He also served as town manager for Chebeague Island for three years and for Pownal for eight.

Salisbury said that he is running for the elected position. The full slate of candidates has not been announced.

Don and Steve Libby could not be reached for comment.

In her application, Chase wrote, “I want to see our town move forward with thought and foresight understanding that change is constant.”

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