Vassalboro Town Manager Mary Sabins is the incoming president of the Maine Municipal Association’s executive committee – or, in effect, head for a year of the state-wide organization that offers many services to Maine municipalities.
Sabins says most of her job is running board meetings. With a board she describes as “mutually respectful, civil, able to disagree without being disagreeable,” and an executive director, Steven Gove, with 30 years’ experience with the organization, she expects that part will not be difficult.
Board members are municipal officers, elected or appointed. Sabins’ predecessors were the mayor of South Portland and the Kennebunkport town manager.
The executive committee’s role is primarily setting policies and doing strategic planning for the organization. The president is in charge of overseeing the annual MMA convention in October and coordinating the state delegation’s approach to Maine Congress-people during the annual March meeting of the National League of Cities, held in Washington, D. C.
Sabins said almost all Maine towns and cities are MMA members, paying annual dues based on population and valuation. Among the organization’s major offerings to its members are free legal advice, multiple insurance plans that some municipalities find more advantageous than commercial offerings, technical services, assistance with personnel and labor issues, training for municipal staff and officials and a small grant program for workers’ safety equipment that Sabins said has benefited Vassalboro firefighters.
The organization’s mission “is to provide professional services to local governments throughout Maine and to advocate for their common interests at the state and national levels.” The MMA website, memun.org, lists services along with current news and other useful information.
Sabins has been active in MMA for five years. Before accepting her first position, she got Vassalboro selectmen’s approval and permission to take time off from her Vassalboro job as needed. At the next selectmen’s meeting after her election, selectmen and town office staff gave her a congratulatory potted plant that decorates her desk in the town office.
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