James Katsiaficas, a Portland attorney formerly with the Maine Municipal Association, provided an overview of town charters and the charter-proposal process at an informational meeting on June 5 at the Meetinghouse. Katsiaficas also shared examples of what town charters can and cannot do, offered some pros and cons of charters, and fielded questions from the audience.
Katsiaficas was invited by Town Manager Carrie Castonguay and the Select Board ahead of New Gloucester’s June 11 referendum vote on whether to establish a town charter commission. In his introductory remarks, Katsiaficas noted that while the charter process must follow certain required steps, the scope and terms of a charter depend on the town’s “needs and desires” and are “unique to each municipality.”
Audience members asked questions about what prompts communities to turn toward charters, how residents are elected to seats on a charter commission, when a commission disbands, and more.