Kittery may not be acting above board again. If it is not following Council Rules as was the case with the Chairperson improperly excusing Councilor Cam Ham from missing multiple council meetings which by the way is scheduled to happen again, the new alleged incident suggests a failure to follow the rules that could ultimately be a violation of Maine law.
Note: People should be outraged that an elected official can’t make the meetings and serve the people who elected them. I digress.
Maine Law requires training for elected and appointed officials along with members of the school board. These records must be kept and it was recently brought to my attention and it has been alleged that officials, staff and appointed officials may not have been following Maine Law. If this is truly the case, the Town of Kittery administrators who are responsible and charged with obeying State laws and the Town Charter and to ensure that Kittery is following Maine Law requirements may not have been doing their job. If that is the case, who is at fault? It could be a big deal, for if we over look the small stuff then what other things are not being followed…..one should ask?
A FOIA (Freedom of Information Request) was served on the Town Council and Manager and I received with a response within the legal time limit that said it will take four weeks to put my request together.
FOUR WEEKS…This is concerning since it should have been easily obtainable and these records should have been up to date without waiting for four weeks and allowing Kittery time to get their ducks in a row.
(This is a truncated FOIA Request delivered to Kittery)
Dear Chairperson Judith Spiller, or current chair and or Town Manager Amaral;
Under the Maine Freedom of Access Act § 402 et seq.,
I am requesting the dates and copies of the certification of any mandatory training of the current Town Councilors or Municipal officers, clerks, treasurers, assessors and budget committee members of municipal governments and officials of school units and school boards; regarding following MMA training requirements and any State of Maine requirements for elected, hired or appointed officials. i.e. Mandatory training on the Freedom of information act.
Kittery sent a response
(This is the Town’s truncated response)
The Town received your Freedom of Access Act request on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. This is to acknowledge receipt of the request as required by law, and provide initial response.
We estimate we will have researched and compiled records that correspond to your training records request within four weeks. I do not anticipate a cost for this request if the Town can electronically deliver the records (via email). If you wish to receive the records in hard copy, we will provide you with a follow-up communication estimating the cost of copying, as may be applicable.
I am not sure why it would take four weeks to get a few dozen documents. The documentation should be readily available unless Kittery needs to get caught up and get all the training done. We will see how this unfolds and we will post the results. In the mean time, the proper authorities in the State of Maine are being alerted to the alleged potential violation of Maine Law.
§412. Public records and proceedings training for certain officials and public access officers.
1. Training required. A public access officer and an official subject to this section shall complete a course of training on the requirements of this chapter relating to public records and proceedings. The official or public access officer shall complete the training not later than the 120th day after the date the official assumes the person’s duties as an official or the person is designated as a public access officer pursuant to section 413, subs
F. Municipal officers; municipal clerks, treasurers, managers or administrators, assessors and code enforcement officers and deputies for those positions; and planning board members and budget committee members of municipal governments; [PL 2021, c. 313, §6 (AMD).]
G. Superintendents, assistant superintendents and school board members of school administrative units; and
1. Civil violation. An officer or employee of a state government agency or local government entity who willfully violates this subchapter commits a civil violation.
[PL 2019, c. 247, §1 (NEW).]
2. Penalties. A state government agency or local government entity whose officer or employee commits a civil violation described in subsection 1 is subject to:
A. A fine of not more than $500 for a civil violation described in subsection 1; [PL 2019, c. 247, §1 (NEW).]
B. A fine of not more than $1,000 for a civil violation described in subsection 1 that was committed not more than 4 years after a previous adjudication of a civil violation described in subsection 1 by an officer or employee of the same state government agency or local government entity; or [PL 2019, c. 247, §1 (NEW).]
C. A fine of not more than $2,000 for a civil violation described in subsection 1 that was committed not more than 4 years after 2 or more previous adjudications of a civil violation described in subsection 1 by an officer or employee of the same state government agency or local government entity. [PL 2019, c. 247, §1 (NEW).]