LINCOLNVILLE — The Select Board returned Feb. 14 to a matter first brought up by board member Jordan Barnett-Parker Jan. 25: a proposal to amend the town charter to institute term limits for members of the Select Board. The proposal would not affect members of other town boards, committees and commissions.

Town attorney Sally Daggett advised the board in writing that such a measure would be legal and would be considered an amendment of the charter rather than a revision; the latter would require a charter commission. She also noted that to be adopted, a charter amendment must be put to a vote of the town, must get a majority of votes cast, and the total number of votes cast (for and against) must be at least 30% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

Board members’ views had not changed much since the previous discussion, with Chair Ladleah Dunn saying she felt term limits were not needed and Vice Chair Keryn Laite noting, as he had before, that it is sometimes difficult to recruit enough candidates to run for available seats. Laite also said, “You need a certain amount of community connection to lead the town,” adding that the town would not have seasoned leadership if terms were limited and that he felt the current system was working well and should not be changed.

Barnett-Parker repeated his belief that if there were a vacancy on the board, someone would step up to fill it, and that it was important to allow regular opportunities for new people to come onto the board. Board member Josh Gerritsen said he wanted to explore the idea further and Secretary Mike Ray said he wanted to give townspeople the opportunity for a thorough discussion of the matter and to have them decide. He stressed the importance of providing plenty of information and open discussion, as he felt adding term limits would be a major change.

Former board member Rosey Gerry, who was present, warned the board that issues sometimes take years to work their way through the board and term limits could prevent some concerns from being addressed.

In a 3-2 vote with Dunn and Laite opposed, the board agreed to put a nonbinding question on the June 14 town meeting warrant to be discussed during the open portion of the meeting to see if the town wants to pursue adding term limits to the charter. They agreed that the initial proposal would be to allow three, three-year terms, then require at least one year off the board before a person could run again. The limits would not apply to currently sitting members, but would take effect as their terms expire. Town Administrator Dave Kinney asked if there were no official candidates, would the policy apply to write-in candidates? The board did not resolve that question at the meeting.

Revisiting another question from its Jan. 25 meeting, the board took up the proposed remote and hybrid meeting policy. After voting unanimously to hold a public hearing on the policy as drafted by Kinney with tweaks from Daggett, the board focused primarily on how it would be implemented. A date for the public hearing was not set.

Gerritsen said the dedicated meeting laptop would not be connected to the Town Office network server, so it could not be used to access any town files. There would be a static Zoom link that would not change. Board members generally supported the idea of paying for the computer and camera required for hybrid meetings with American Rescue Plan Act funds, but Kinney noted that contingency funds are also available.

The board voted to appoint Gerritsen to be in charge of training committee chairs and/or their designees in the use of the equipment and to work with Kinney to draft a notice to boards, committees and commissions for the board’s review, pending a public hearing on adoption of the policy.

The board also discussed a proposal from Barnett-Parker to require applicants for new or renewed liquor licenses to have employees serving alcohol go through training. He said Bangor, Portland and Acton have implemented such requirements, and on the basis of his 30 years in the restaurant industry he felt it was “a really important protection for everyone in the town, especially the people who own the businesses.”

Dunn was skeptical, saying she had not heard of any problems in town and that she thought Lincolnville restaurant owners were operating responsibly. Ray suggested that Barnett-Parker might do further research on the subject and bring more information back to the board. No action was taken.

Ray brought up some instances of unauthorized wood pickups from the Waldo County Woodshed supply next to the town’s salt and sand shed. The town allows the Woodshed to use the land, but given the evidence of theft from the site, Ray was concerned about the security of the town’s salt and sand supply. The board asked Kinney to invite representatives from the Woodshed to come a Select Board meeting to discuss security improvements.

Kinney and Ray spoke briefly about their review of Select Board tasks in the last Comprehensive Plan Review, and the board voted to have Kinney forward his and Ray’s work to the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee and invite it to suggest dates for a joint workshop if it wants to have one.

In other business, the board appointed Judith Gilbert to fill a vacancy on the Budget Committee until the town meeting in June.

The next meeting will be Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Town Office.

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