2017-05-25 / Letters

City doesn’t listen to all residents

To the editor:

“The democratic process is only as great as the people who participate in it.”

Jeff Miller

The democratic process is only as important as the individuals participating in the process and Saco residents are participating. A resident asked for clarification on how to present suggested amendments related to the fiscal year 2018 budget at the May 1 budget meeting.

The answer, “email your amendments to council members and they will be submitted to the city administrator for discussion at the May 8 meeting. A vote of the budget then would take place.”

As residents, we did as requested. Nevertheless, an important process was ignored. Several council members admitted receipt of the amendments from various Saco residents. Some of the amendments were forwarded to the city administrator. The Saco city administrator who was hired to oversee operations of the city, seemingly decided to not add the additional amendments. Saco’s legislative body, the city council, must step up and question why this occurred.

A member of the audience on May 8 did step up and was gaveled out of order by Mayor Roland Michaud. The mayor stated that he would have the person removed from council chambers by the police. This did not stop the individual from speaking further. The questions asked and comments continued from the audience member.

A number of amendments the councilors submitted from the May 1 meeting also did not appear at the May 8 meeting.

Review Saco Council “Live Stream” at the following link: http://townhallstreams.com/towns/saco_ maine”’ que time to 3 hour 14 minutes.

Is it the city administrator the one who decides what is in the best interest of all the taxpayers and residents of Saco?

Two individuals were admonished by the city administrator for speaking out against various issues related to the operations of the city over the past two years. These individuals were strongly encouraged not to continue their involvement in city matters. An email states that it creates a negative impact to the residents and the city and that, in the end, it moves the city backward and not forward.

Interestingly enough, these same two individuals have worked in tandem with the school department in regards to this year’s budget. The superintendent and business manager were invited to a Saco Citizens for Sensible Government meeting to explain the budget variance with the Thornton Academy student count and the upcoming budget. Both individuals attended.

The same opportunity was extended to the city administrator, who declined.

Unfortunately, many suggestions made through the amendment proposals if discussed and implemented, could have resulted in savings to the taxpayers.

The gag order is still in play and transparency is still amiss in the city of Saco.

John Harkins, chairman Saco Citizens for Sensible Government

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