April 21, 2020
To: Members of the Board of Selectman
Paul First, Town Manager
From: New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter
The corona virus has had a significant impact on many aspects of all of our lives. One of those has been the effect it is having on the Town of New Gloucester’s governing process. Two examples are the Board
of Selectmen holding virtual meetings and delaying the annual town meeting date to June 15, 2020 because of the need to minimize the risk of exposing voters to the COVID-19.
The New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter and their petitioners have also found it appropriate to minimize the risk of exposing NG voters to the virus. We have stopped contacting voters for petition
signatures to place the question of whether or not the Town of New Gloucester voters want to create a charter commission on the November 2020 ballot. It has become increasingly clear to us that the COVID-19 risk is going to be here to some degree until a vaccine is available, likely in 2021. By statute we only have until June 27 to submit the petitions signed by 587 voters and notarized. For those reasons, we would like to request the Board of Selectmen take action to order placing the question on the November 2020 ballot of whether the Town of New Gloucester voters want to create
a charter commission.
In a memo sent to the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager, dated March 21 st , we advised the Board of Selectmen that the petitioners and their designees had secured 307 voter signatures for placing the
question of whether or not the Town of New Gloucester voters want to create a charter commission. That is more than 50% of the required number of signatures to get the question on the November
ballot. At that time the petitioners believed they would be able to secure the required signatures should the issues with COVID-19 be resolved in a timely manner. This is no longer our view as the epidemiologist in our State Government is advising otherwise.
The New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter feel the November 2020 will have greater voter participation and will better reflect the views of the Town. Previously the question of creating a charter commission lost by only 4 votes. Less than 800 persons voted at that June election.
We would appreciate having this letter read aloud at your special meeting tomorrow night.
On behalf of the New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter