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- The Forecaster
NORTH YARMOUTH — A replacement for former Selectman Mark Girard will be elected next June.
Girard, who was elected to the Board of Selectmen in June 2012 to complete an unexpired term, and was re-elected in 2014, announced his resignation at the board’s Dec. 15 meeting. His term expires in 2017.
“As a matter regarding personal choices, I am resigning from the Board of Selectmen as of the culmination of this meeting,” he told his fellow selectmen.
He then wished them happy holidays, and “good luck with all of the challenges that the board and the community face over the next year.”
The comments are included in a video of the meeting posted at vimeo.com/149298248. Girard declined Monday to comment further on the matter.
April 5, the week of Town Meeting, would have been the earliest date an election could have been held, Town Manager Rosemary Roy told the board that night. She also noted the strain a special election puts on her staff and budget.
With two other board seats coming up for re-election in June, “To me, it makes more sense to hold one election at the June primaries, so that we are conserving our costs,”Roy said.
The town faced a similar situation earlier this year, when Clark Whittier resigned from the Board of Selectmen with a year left on his term. Jim Moulton was elected to fill the seat in a September special election, which Town Clerk Debbie Grover said cost the town nearly $1,400.
Selectman Steve Palmer noted the importance of having five board members work on the budget early next year.
“Where that’s not going to be possible, I really have doubts about the success that a selectman voted on April 5 would have in terms of impacting a Town Meeting on the ninth,” he said.
Alex Carr, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, noted the “three parallel tracks” facing the town: what to do with North Yarmouth Memorial School, a Wescustogo Hall rebuild, and potential revitalization of Town Hall. He said decisions on those matters could come before a four-person board and result in tie votes.
“We need to get business done, and I want to make sure that we’re trying to get past an impasse,” said Carr, who cast the dissenting vote in the board’s 3-1 decision to fill Girard’s seat in June.
Carr had said in an email Dec. 18 that Girard had told him that time constraints led to his resignation.
“This is becoming a pattern with the (board), committees, and our volunteers.” he wrote. “I intend to challenge fellow members, chairs and leaders in town to be constantly cognizant of how we schedule and run meetings. We have already undertaken scheduling our regular (board) meetings with necessary workshops preceding. Additionally, the Town is trialing a streaming service that may allow remote participation.”
In an interview later that day, Carr said “we need to be smart about how we’re scheduling,” in order to attract a diversity of volunteers and a sustainable base of board members.
Otherwise, he said, the town would have to look into hiring staff or reducing services.
Carr also said Girard told him about his plan to resign the night before the Dec. 15 meeting, and he informed other selectmen about it ahead of that meeting.
The Board of Selectmen on Monday also unanimously approved a request for proposals to be sent out to potential developers for the reuse of the 20-acre North Yarmouth Memorial School property, which School Administrative District 51 closed in June 2014 and turned over to the town.
The document follows the directive of Question 2, the referendum approved by the town on Nov. 3.
Question 1 proposed redeveloping the school as a municipal and community campus with a municipal sewer system to facilitate new development. Town Hall would have been sold for housing or commercial development.
Question 2, which prevailed, opposed that plan and called for the town to cease all spending and work concerning the project or development of a sewer system.
It also called for Wescustogo Hall – the community gathering place destroyed by fire in 2013 – to be rebuilt as stipulated in a 1997 agreement with the town; that the current Town Hall be maintained and renovated; that proposals be sought for the school building; that citizen feedback be garnered on all proposals, and for any plans for the school to go to a town vote.
The RFP was to be released Tuesday, with proposals due back Feb. 3. They will be reviewed by Roy to ensure they are complete and meet the town’s criteria, and the Board will then hold at least two public hearings to receive feedback on the proposals.
Based on that input, the board will narrow down the proposals, with the successful one requiring approval at Town Meeting.