KENNEBUNK – One of the three appointed members of the Kennebunk Charter Commission, Chris Cluff, has resigned, and the Kennebunk Select Board is looking to fill the vacancy. Applications must be submitted to the town manager’s office by March 21.

The commission’s charge is to recommend revisions to the town charter. The process for doing so is grounded in state statute. The commission began meeting in January; a draft report is due in September. When the charter revision is completed, the proposal will be put to Kennebunk voters.

Municipal charters are not defined in state law, but according to the Maine Municipal Association, a charter typically outlines how the municipality operates, the form of government, distribution of legislative, executive, and other powers, delegation of legal and administrative functions, making and implementing budgetary decisions, and more.

The select board plans to meet with applicants at its March 28 meeting, set for 6:30 p.m., and make an appointment. The charter commission meets at 6:30 p.m.  on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

Committee/commission applications are available at the town manager’s office on the second floor of Kennebunk Town Hall, in the town hall lobby and at

The current charter may be viewed at


The decision to put the charter revision to the voters followed a campaign to recall an elected RSU 21 board member, one of six who represent Kennebunk. The March 29, 2022, recall went down in defeat – the vote was more than 3-1 against recall – but exposed a lack of process outlined in the charter. Municipal officials said the current charter not only lacked specifics in the recall portion but on other matters.

Voters in November approved the formation of a charter commission 4,043-2,168 and elected a slate of six candidates. Three additional candidates were appointed by the select board, as outlined in state law.

The charter was last revised by a charter commission in 2009, though there have been periodic tweaks since that time.

The select board on Dec. 6 appointed Cluff in a 5-2 vote after rejecting a motion to appoint John Costin, who had chaired the 2008 charter commission.

Cluff that evening suggested one of the select board members be appointed, and pointed out he had originally taken out papers for an elected seat on the commission, but given the time commitment, decided not to file them. Cluff, a former two-term select board member, said select board vice chair Kortney Nedeau “begged” him to apply.

In an email to the select board, Cluff  said he was resigning with great regret, and took issue with the way he believes the commission is headed. He said a majority of the commission is focused on the recall provisions, and opined that  the majority “has a clear agenda and has no regard for any of the other important matters to be discussed.”


Cluff wrote that his biggest concern was his belief that  the commission feels they operate in a vacuum, and that they do not report to anyone.

“I am hopeful that the charter commission is successful in their charge; our success as a community depends upon it. However, the road that the committee is going down is not one I can participate in,” Cluff wrote, in part.

Commission chair Christian Babcock responded by email to the select board and pointed out that at that point, the commission had held four meetings in addition to the required public meeting.

He said the commission received 41 comments at the public meeting and through email, and the most popular theme, with eight comments, was the recall process. He said there were four comments that recommended legal representation separate from the town and noted “several members have previous history of conflict with the town attorney, myself included.” A motion to begin the process of seeking outside legal representation was made by Cluff, Babcock said, but was rescinded and had not recently been renewed.

He said the commission is passionate about transparency and public involvement and plans “road show” events in West Kennebunk and Lower Village, among other efforts.

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