Don’t mess with Maine

To the editor,

The news that Kennebunk’s special select board meeting – with only four of the seven select board members present – voted on June 7 to engage a Texas executive search firm, Strategic Government Resources, to hire a new town manager causes bells to ring in the ears of some citizens.

This news was announced the same week that Kennebunk voters last Tuesday, June 14, had elected two new female select board members in an historic election.

The inability of Kennebunk town officials to discover a New England-based executive search firm, staffed by qualified professionals who are deeply immersed in the traditions and history of our open town meeting, select board of government, raises concerns about their own vision of what constitutes responsible municipal leadership.

Texas is known as the Lone Star State. That go-it-alone spirit still dominates the Texas way of life. Is that view reflected by Strategic Government Resources’s guiding philosophy in its search for Kennebunk’s next town manager?

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Maine is nicknamed the Pine Tree State whose motto is Dirigo, I lead. Maine’s flag features a farmer and seaman representing our traditional reliance on agriculture and the sea. Maine’s form of town meeting government has been called: the purest form of democracy. Does Strategic Government Resources know that historians draw a straight line between New England’s town meeting, the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution? (New England Historical Society).

I strongly recommend that the newly-constituted select board – equipped with the vision and vitality of its two new board members, Miriam Whitehouse and Leslie Trentalange – at its first meeting revisit its decision to engage Strategic Government Resources. According to Roberts Rules of Order (11th Edition) a decision of a board adopted at a previous meeting can be changed at a later meeting. The motion to rescind a decision can only be made by someone who voted yes on a motion that passed.

Both these newly-elected select board members were overwhelmingly elected by the citizens of Kennebunk to represent them. Their combined professional experiences and the ability to think globally, act locally would likely lead to a more desirable recruitment solution in the select board’s quest to fill the important position of town manager. That indeed would make Kennebunk a really big deal.

Robert F. Lyons

Kennebunk

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