Informational Forum about Town Charters – Now Available Online and on NGTV

Mitch Berkowitz of Gray and Norm Beauparlant of Poland joined New Gloucester residents for a conversation about town charters on May 15 at the meetinghouse.  Berkowitz, former town manager of Bridgton, Gray, and other communities, shared his perspective from having served in towns with and without charters.  Beauparlant, vice chair of Poland’s former charter commission, focused on the charter process and what Poland residents chose to change and retain in their 2009 charter. 

The discussion offered voters a chance to ask questions and hear from near neighbors–“neither pro or con,” and with “no skin in the game,” as Berkowitz put it–ahead of New Gloucester’s June 11 referendum vote on whether to establish a town charter commission. 

Video of the charter conversation with Berkowitz and Beauparlant is available on demand at this link and will be broadcast on NGTV Channel 1302 until election day, Tuesday June 11.  The detailed broadcast schedule is available below.

The nonpartisan information session was co-sponsored by the New Gloucester Candidate/Referendum Issues Committee and the Maine League of Women Voters.  Barbara Kaufman of Freeport, a member of the League board, served as forum moderator. 

Materials available at the forum included the article “To Charter or Not to Charter: A Legal and Political Primer” by Benjamin Smith, available below, from the March 2019 issue of the Maine Municipal Association’s Maine Town & City magazine. Copies of the Gray town charter and Poland town charter discussed by Berkowitz and Beauparlant were also shared with forum attendees.

Mike Brakey poses a question to the charter discussion panelists
Mitch Berkowitz, former town manager in Maine and New Hampshire, responds to audience questions