Colby student running for Charter Commission

In anticipation of this November’s elections, Waterville residents hoping to win positions filed their petitions for candidacy Sept 6. One such resident is Lutie Brown ’22.

Brown gained the 25 signatures required to run for the Waterville Charter Commission. Brown is running against Robert Patterson for the Ward 3 seat. Among other candidates for the commission from other wards are city mayor Nick Isgro.

The Charter Commission is required to convene every seventh year. The last Commission convened in 2012. It may also convene at times additional to those required by the charter.

The commission is responsible for “Modifications or revisions to the Charter as proposed by a duly elected Charter Commission [which] shall be submitted to voters for approval or revision.”

The changes proposed by the Charter Commission must be approved by voters. State law mandates that 30% of the number of votes submitted in the most recent gubernatorial election be cast in approving a new charter. 

In 2005, the charter was approved by voters, but the numbers did not meet state requirements, causing it to ultimately fail.

The previous Charter Commission made substantive changes to Article I; concerning the mayor, IV; concerning City Council, V; Administration, VI; Code of Ethics, VII; City finances, IX; Board of Education, X; Elections, and XI; recall, referendum, initiative. It also removed Article VIII, Eminent domain.

One issue that may be considered by the commission is the idea of eliminating wards in the city. The topic caused controversy in Dec 2018 when City Manager Mike Roy mentioned the idea to two city councilors and Mayor Nick Isgro took to social media to put down the idea. 

Roy had evidently mentioned to Councilors Jay Coelho and Erik Thomas that the 2019 Charter Commission would be responsible for considering the idea.

In an interview with the Echo, Isgro commented on Brown’s candidacy. “I totally disagree with that. And it’s not personal. That’s where we have to be careful, you know, I don’t really know Lutie Brown, I certainly have nothing negative to say about her as a person,” Isgro said. “I think there’s a principle where local residents are going to feel that, here’s a person from Brooklyn, who spends part of the year on a tax-exempt campus is going to write the rules of our government that we all have to live by for the next decade.”

He continued: “Is it legal? Yes. But there are people who think it’s probably wonderful, and there are people who don’t think it’s wonderful. I don’t think it’s wonderful. I think the important thing is that it’s not about the person. If it is, then you’ve got other issues.”

Leave a Reply