China Selectboard accepts LaVerdiere’s resignation: MacFarland opposes decision

by Mary Grow

Three of the four China selectmen at the Oct. 28 board meeting accepted with regret Jeff LaVerdiere’s written resignation from the board, confirming his oral resignation at the Oct. 15 meeting (see The Town Line, Oct. 24, 2019).

Retiring board chairman Robert MacFarland voted against the motion to accept the resignation. “I didn’t want him to resign, so I’m not gonna accept his resignation,” MacFarland said.

LaVerdiere wrote on Oct. 28 that he was resigning because “I have not had any impact on reducing spending and I am not needed to make ill informed decisions.”

The current issue that “I cannot be part of is the wording of the F/D [fire department] MOU [memorandum of understanding] which the town manager wrote and S/B [selectboard] members support. It is written in a negative tone in my opinion.”

He continued by saying that to promote residents’ best interest, town officials should “be working in good faith toward a positive outcome for our town. All I see is a power struggle!”

Since state law lets municipalities that fund nonprofit organizations review related financial records, he considers the MOU redundant.

LaVerdiere’s letter ends, “I pray for you all to have a good year and work through the ongoing strife.”

The MOU sets out the duties of the fire chiefs and town officials in keeping records of the departments’ use of town funds. Town Manager Dennis Heath said the fire chiefs agreed to the MOU in July, but have not yet signed it. When they do, their checks are at the town office ready to be handed over, he said.

The motion to accept LaVerdiere’s resignation included direction to Heath to schedule a special election for a new board member as soon as possible.

[See also: Breton rebutts candidates’ statements]

In preparation for the regular state and local elections Nov. 5, selectmen signed an ordinance prohibiting vehicles parking or standing on either side of Lakeview Drive within 500 feet of the town office driveway on Election Day. The Nov. 5 temporary parking ban, like the temporary closure of the driveway (see the map in The Town Line, Oct. 24, p. 10) is intended to reduce the chances of traffic accidents.

China’s polls will be open Nov. 5 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the portable building behind the town office.

Selectmen were presented with two questions from residents during the Oct. 23 meeting. They could answer only one on the spot.

Resident Tom Michaud said someone asked him why several Oakland policemen were parked in front of China Middle School one day. MacFarland replied that Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 sent officers to present the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.

Michaud reported that work is complete on one of the fire roads being improved partly with China’s TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund, created by taxes paid by Central Maine Power Co. Selectman Ronald Breton asked whether spending local tax money entitled all taxpayers to use the private fire road. Heath said he will ask the Maine Municipal Association legal staff for an answer.

The manager said the new RFID (radio-frequency identification) placards for entrance to the transfer station are being tested by Transfer Station Committee members and a few other people. Two public meetings to explain the new system are scheduled: Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., at the China town office and Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., at the Palermo town office.

Selectman Irene Belanger said the China for a Lifetime Committee is looking for volunteers to shovel sidewalks for elderly residents this winter. Teenagers as well as adults are welcome to get in touch with her or with Eric Austin for more information or to volunteer.

MacFarland announced four Halloween trunk ‘r treat programs Oct. 31, at the China Village fire station, the town office, the China Church of the Nazarene on Route 3 and Erskine Academy.

(According to the website of Central Church, also on Route 3, that church holds its first Great Pumpkin Bash Halloween evening, providing “a safe place for kids and families to celebrate” with activities and refreshments.)

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, instead of the usual Monday, because Monday, Nov. 11, is the Veterans Day holiday. The town office will be closed Nov. 11.


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