Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Friday, June 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 25


home : letters : letters to the editor June 24, 2016

12/18/2013 2:01:00 PM

It may have been uttered as a casual observation, but budget committee chairman Bob Blagden sounds a sour note in Charlotte Boynton's story about outgoing Wiscasset Town Manager Laurie Smith. "It's too bad we can't find a town manager that wants to be part of the community and move here," he said. "I believe we have had seven town managers in the past 10 years."

He may have said it as an offhand comment in a larger conversation, or he may have said it with a snarl, but either way, we appreciate Blagden's refreshing candor.

Usually when someone resigns or retires, even people with a grudge generally do the polite thing, which is murmur something positive and keep moving.

Blagden, who has represented his town in various roles through the years, knows his community, and we are sure there is more than one Wiscasset resident who feels the same way he does. However, in this case we think they need to look inward.

Smith can hardly be blamed for taking a position she feels will advance her career. That's what careers are for. That's what people do, and Smith is in the prime of her professional life. Why not go?

Home to a retired U.S. President, and located in a particularly busy economic area, Kennebunkport presents an entirely different slate of challenges than a perpetually cash strapped Midcoast town, still getting its footing almost 20 years after the shuttering of its biggest taxpayer.

Though we suspect Smith would never say it aloud, we surmise the perpetual chaos that is Wiscasset politics has as much to do with her decision as money or location. Just this year Wiscasset needed three tries to pass a budget.

Remember, until voters decided to undue the damage the third time around, they had decided, due in part to budget committee agitation, to lay off their professional assessing agent; the one who capably served the town in various roles for 35 years.

The decision put a bunch of amateurs in charge of assessing and set up the town to lay out a sizable severance package.

That and the Wiscasset Planning Department was spared de-funding by all of one vote.

If anything, we are only surprised Wiscasset's accomplished Town Planner Misty Parker hasn't beat Smith out the door.

All this while the town has been in conniptions over the school withdrawal question and it is only going to get rougher from here.

Wiscasset has a demonstrated track record for not choosing the easy road and specifically not making it easy on their officials. So we are not surprised Laurie Smith is leaving and Kennebunkport's gain is certainly Wiscasset's loss. We see a lot of public officials and Smith is as good as they come.

In the business world, if a company has a perpetual help wanted sign out front, that indicates something is wrong with the workplace.

As for Wiscasset, if every town manager that has been vetted and interviewed and hired has not lasted, maybe it says less about them, and more about officials.

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