Town Council to address KPA issues

Workshop to explore role of the chairman
August 26, 2014 2:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — In advance of a workshop with the Kittery Port Authority next month, town councilors raised a number of issues and questions they want answered by KPA members.

The Town Council will be meeting with the KPA on Monday, Sept. 15, to address concerns ranging from recent allegations of possible discriminatory practices to the role of the chairman to a lack of clarity over KPA project oversight.

Council Chairman Jeff Thomson sought input from other board members on the matter so that there could be a productive workshop.

Councilor Chuck Denault said he was concerned about comments made two weeks ago by a squid fishermen that KPA action to ban squid fishing at Pepperrell Cove could be construed as discriminatory, as many of the fishermen are Asian.

“I’m concerned that this places a cloud over the Port Authority. I am comfortable that there isn’t any racism going on down there,” Denault said.

However, he suggested that not only the KPA but other town boards and committees should consider taking sensitivity training offered by the Maine Municipal Association.

“Just to make sure we don’t ‘open mouth and insert foot,'” Denault said.

Councilor Judy Spiller said she was concerned about project oversight. For instance, she said, why is it that some people thought a ramp used by lobstermen would be included in the recently completed float project, only to find out “that it’s not part of the project.”

She also said the KPA has not consistently been good at communication, in terms of posting agendas and minutes on a regular basis.

Russell White said he thinks the Town Council needs to discuss the role of the chairman.

“When I was on the KPA, the chair was expected to be a 20-hour-a-week volunteer to administer the business of the KPA,” he said. “That’s an awful lot of work to fall on a chair,” suggesting that the council consider examining whether the chairman needs administrative support.

The Sept. 15 workshop was originally going to be held Sept. 8, but has been rescheduled.