| Letter to the editor from Stephen Hathorne |
An oath of office is to remind elected officers that they do not swear allegiance to a supervisor, an agency, a political appointee, or even to the president. The oath is to support and to defend the Constitution and Faithfully execute your duties. Lots of us are taught our first oath at a very young age, the oath of scouting. ”On My Honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
As we progress through life we come across many Oaths, and the introduction of a Bible to swear before God our intentions as we raise our right hand. When taking an oath, it implies the intention of holding one’s self to a higher standard, above and beyond.
Recently at a New Gloucester Selectmen meeting it was obvious to me that the oath of office has lost its meaning or had no meaning at all. On March 1st the board of Selectmen knowingly and openly decided against following the law about their three Charter commission appointees.
The Charter law lets the Selectmen appoint three people to the Charter commission and only one can be a selectman. The voters choose the other six people. The law is very clear (specifically) that the Selectmen were supposed to appoint their three people within 30 days after the Charter vote in November and then the voters choose their six at the next election after that.
But the Selectmen didn’t appoint theirs. Maybe they didn’t read the approximately 3 short pages of State Statute that pertain to the development of a town constitution. When it was pointed out to them recently that they were acting against what the law said and they should make their appointments now, they used the ability our town has always given them to get legal review and interpretation from a qualified legal source. At their meeting it sounded like the town attorney said there wasn’t any fine or penalty if they didn’t. All but one Selectman decided they would keep on ignoring the law. The law is the law! It is not up to personal interpretation!
On March 1st the board of Selectmen admitted their failure to read, comprehend, and interpret state statute. Openly in a public meeting representing all citizens they knowingly voted against properly appointing three Charter appointees the way specifically spelled out in statute rules.
It is increasingly obvious the board has their hidden agenda and wish to inflict their appointments, much like appointing a judge to the Supreme Court. Getting the last word!
It is appalling that our board of Selectmen would feel that they are above and beyond the laws of the land, and willingly and knowingly reject the rules which we all must follow. It is excruciatingly painful to know that they sought legal advice at the expense of the taxpayers to seek information whether they could legally be held to a fine, knowing they were in the wrong! They have allowed that information to be used against the citizens of New Gloucester!
So help me God.
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