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Conservation Commission Chairman Ignores Selectmen's Vote on Bylaws
by Cheryl Killam   3-25-15

At the Feb. 25 Raymond Conservation Commission meeting, Chairman Ted Janusz told the members "we don't have bylaws."

Conservation Commission member Bernie Peer had asked about the bylaws, saying Raymond residents don't want to serve on this board because of how the bylaws are written.

The bylaws were used in 2011 by resident Gary Brown to seek removal by the Board of Selectmen of six of the Conservation Commission members for what he alleged to be a violation of the bylaws’ conflict of interest paragraph, as the members he charged had signed conservation related citizen petitions.

Although the bylaws also require any complaints about conservation commission members to be made by another conservation commission member and this did not take place, Brown took his complaint to the Board of Selectmen, even though the Conservation Commission had taken his request under advisement. Before the Conservation Commission could meet again, the selectmen set a hearing.

Referring to that same portion of the bylaws as Brown had used, Peer said at the Feb. 25 meeting, "there is one paragraph that I have a problem with. I should be able to speak at a public meeting as a citizen and these bylaws prevent me from doing that".

The paragraph in the bylaws is B:1:b Conflict of Interest which states:

If a member, or an alternate member of the ConCom is not regarded as neutral;
  • has given and/or formed an opinion;
  • has supported and/or joined a petition group;
  • has signed and/or spoken on a petition about the Town's activities;
  • has used membership in the ConCom as a basis for an opinion;
  • has used information and/or materials from the ConCom for any of the aforementioned;
  • the remaining members of the ConCom will request the Selectmen to remove the offending member, or offending alternate member from the ConCom as soon as possible.

Janusz responded, "Do we need them? There is no legal requirement for them?"

Then-selectman Bill Hoitt responded, "I thought we already had them."

Peer agreed with Hoitt and said they exist.

Janusz responded, "this year has been going along fine without bylaws. I don't understand, Bernie, we don’t have bylaws."

The Board of Selectmen minutes of May 20, 2013 state that the Selectmen approved adopting the bylaws proposed by the Conservation Commission. Hoitt made the motion, and Frank Bourque seconded it. Hoitt, Bourque, Peter Buckingham (husband of current Conservation Commission member Lorrie O’Connor) and Greg Bemis were in favor. Wayne Welch opposed, saying he objected to the bylaws.

To read the Board of Selectmen minutes click HERE.

There are no minutes recorded of the Conservation Commission voting to extinguish the bylaws.

To watch and listen to the Conservation Commission discussion about bylaws that began about one hour and 40 minutes into the meeting, click on Discussion about Bylaws on RCTV and move the slide down to 1:40:00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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895-4735

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