Berberian, Durand, Goldthwait to join charter commission

BAR HARBOR — The town council appointed three members to the newly formed Charter Commission Tuesday, rounding out the nine-member commission to include six elected and three appointed members.

Appointed Tuesday were Julie Berberian who also serves on the Warrant Committee, Anna Durand who has served on the Ferry Terminal Property Advisory Committee and Jill Goldthwait, who has served on the Parking Solutions Task Force and moderated meetings and public hearings for the town. Goldthwait was also the chair of the town’s last charter commission ten years ago.

Six people were nominated to fill the three openings. In addition to those mentioned above, Kim Swan, Quatrina Johnson, and Earl Brechlin also received nominations.

Town Clerk Sharon Linscott wrote the names of the nominees on a computer spreadsheet that was projected on a screen. Then through a public voting process, each councilor voted for their top three picks. Linscott tallied each vote, and the three nominees with the most votes won the appointment.

Berberian and Durand had 5 votes each, and Goldthwait came in next with 4.

The spreadsheet voting method was chosen after considering other methods. In a memo, Town Manager Cornell Knight had proposed pulling nominees’ names from a hat to vote on them in random order. But it was decided that having each councilor vote one at a time, and tracking each vote on a spreadsheet, would be simpler.

“To me, it’s a really big deal to be a part of this process,” Berbarian said Wednesday morning. From her two years serving on the warrant committee, she said she “got a small snippet of how town stuff works. And that got me really excited to learn more, to be a better informed citizen.”

She looks forward to learning from other commission members, especially those who served on the last charter commission in 2008. “I’m just so thankful that the town councilors have been so supportive, and I really want to do a good job.”

Berberian, Durand, and Goldthwait join the six members who were elected by town ballot on Nov. 6: Peter St. Germain, Martha Searchfield, Patricia Samuel, Joseph Cough, Michael Gurtler and Christopher Strout.

The organizational meeting of the charter commission will be held the week of Dec. 17, according to Linscott.

One of the commission’s first responsibilities will be to hold a public meeting within 30 days of that organizational meeting, “to receive information, views, comments and other material relating to its functions,” according to state statute.

The creation of a charter commission was approved by a vote of 1,624 to 937 on Nov. 6. The purpose of the commission is to review the town charter, Bar Harbor’s governing document, and propose revisions as they see fit. Any revisions proposed by the charter commission must then be approved by voters.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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