Houlton Town Council criticized for zoning post

Elna Seabrooks , Special to The County
13 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — It was another brief meeting Monday evening for the Houlton councilors who confirmed 12 municipal appointments including Brian Longstaff’s to fill a vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
According to Town Manager Doug Hazlett, Longstaff was the only person to step forward for the slot following another run in the Pioneer Times to advertise the position.
    During public comments, Carl Lord, Jr., who was recently turned down for that opening, walked to the microphone to criticize the council and back Longstaff. Lord had been, at the time of the vote on his candidacy, the lone aspirant for the post. Without three critical votes, Lord was short of the necessary backing for the appointment. During his time at the podium, he asked, to no avail, why he did not get full support.
Describing himself as “just a volunteer,” Lord claimed his phone “has rung off the hook” because people want to know why three councilors didn’t vote for him. He then described the group as “a very prejudiced council” and claimed he had the experience for the opening. Longstaff was later voted onto the Zoning Board of Appeals for a three-year term.
Hazlett said he was satisfied with the performance of the department heads and urged their reconfirmation. The councilors unanimously approved the following appointments: Wade Hanson as community development director; Kevin Tingley as code enforcement officer; Hazlett as town manager, airport director and emergency management director; Milton Cone as ambulance director, fire chief and cemetery superintendent; Bernard Reece as civic center and parks director; Marie Carmichael as recreation program director; Leigh Stilwell as public works director; Butch Asselin as police chief and Cathy J. O’Leary as registrar of voters.
Other business
The Houlton Lodge of Elks 835 received a renewal of its liquor license with no objections. Councilor Brian Donnelly abstained from voting due to his employment by the Lodge.
The council accepted a $41,055 energy efficiency and community block grant from Efficiency Maine Trust that will be used for lighting upgrades and energy retrofits at town buildings.
The next council meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 24 in Council Chambers, 21 Water St. at 6:30 p.m.