The Aug. 22 Forecaster article, “North Yarmouth Planning Board members say Select Board undermined their authority,” exposes the failings of North Yarmouth Select Board’s recently written code of conduct policy. Complaints by Deacon Hayes developer Laurie Bachelder and her attorney Kristin Collins against Paul Whitmarsh (Planning Board chairperson) and Paul Hodgetts (Planning Board liaison and Select Board member) were based upon what special counsel, Attorney John Hamer, coined “aspirational goals” of the code of conduct. These goals, Hamer explained at both Hodgetts’ and Whitmarsh’s hearings, served no basis for any action by the Select Board. In both cases, Hamer described the alleged violations to be “vague allegations and not solid enough for the board to take action.”

The Select Board used taxpayer money and their arbitrary “aspirational goals” to essentially publicly humiliate Whitmarsh and Hodgetts, fellow residents who are generously giving of their time as volunteers, yet had to defend themselves legally on their own dime. The public spectacle was retaliation for asking questions like, “Will polluted effluent from the proposed 12-apartment complex’s septic system flow toward the neighbor’s drinking water source?” and “Why has Mr. Cenci, the developer’s geologist, submitted four differing data sets in answering this question?”

The Select Board is not using their code of conduct policy to promote good behavior. Instead, it punishes those with whom they disagree. No wonder volunteers are resigning in North Yarmouth. The policy should be repealed.

Ally Ford
North Yarmouth

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