Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Thursday, May 26, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 21


home : letters : letters to the editor May 26, 2016

8/27/2014 2:00:00 PM

We wouldn't blame the Alna Board of Selectmen if they decided to resign en masse following Monday night's special town meeting. Not that they would, but if they asked, we would advise against it.

Leadership requires seeing tough times through and this would be a tough time for the town. However, given the situation their constituents have placed them in, we understand why they might think resigning is the best option.

Following the standard bid process, the board negotiated terms with Hagar Enterprises, the sole bidder for the town's snowplowing contract. Then, needing more money to seal the deal, the board went back to the voters.

The result? On Monday night, not only did Alna residents veto the contract offer, they ordered the board to come to terms with a company that hadn't even bothered to submit a bid for the work. It's a mess and it's hard to interpret the town's action as anything other than a no-confidence vote in the board.

It should be noted the Alna selectmen put the contract out to bid, negotiated in good faith with the leading bidder, and came back to the town for the money to make the deal happen. That's exactly what the board should have done.

It is the voters Monday who screwed up. They really had only one issue on the table, that being the only contract the town was offered, and one of three options were available, take the deal, reject the deal, or direct the board to continue negotiating, if possible.

It fell to Alna Fire Chief and former Road Commissioner Mike Trask to torpedo the deal. Trask took it upon himself to go behind the board to reach out to the former contractor, Hanley Construction, of Bristol. Coming late to the party, and having the benefit of knowing Hagar's bid, Hanley was somehow able to come in well under Hagar's figures.

We hate to criticize a citizen for getting involved, but it seems Trask was out of order, as were the voters who followed his lead.

We understand Trask has been around and around with the board of selectmen over the years, and his criticism has raised some legitimate points, but he is out of line in this case and, as a town official himself, he should know better.

As for the selectmen, we don't have a dog in the fight, but we wouldn't blame them a bit if they did resign. Clearly voters in town think they have a better handle on this issue than the board.

That may well be true. If it's not true, but the town still does not want to follow the leaders they elected, the board should resign because, well, what's the point?

If Mike Trask or anybody else thinks they can do a better job serving the town, we strongly encourage them to take out papers and run for office. On that point, having more than one choice would be a blessing.

It brings to mind the old saying, "Don't just stand there, lead, follow, or get out of the way."

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