Letter to Editor: Get involved

To the Editor:

I am writing, on behalf of the Bar Harbor Charter Commission, to encourage the registered voters of Bar Harbor to be involved in the charter review process.

The Town of Bar Harbor elected a Charter Commission nearly a year ago. The nine-member commission has met to discuss possible changes to the document that outlines the governance practices for our town since that time. Regular public meetings have been held to work on this project and allow public feedback along the way.

The commission submitted its draft report in September to the Town Council and posted the report on the town’s website. The draft has been shared for all to review.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. for interested people of the town to share their feedback on the draft report. The commission intends to continue its work, guided by feedback, in order to file a final report in December. That report will include recommendations for the voters to consider at Town Meeting in June 2020.

I encourage all citizens to thoughtfully review our report, consider the recommended changes and attend the November public hearing to learn more. The report does not create a new charter but rather recommends modifications to 19 sections of the current charter. Some recommendations suggest minor changes, some are more substantive.

While we appreciate feedback; hyperbole, innuendo and misleading impressions of the report serve no public good. It is only through honest, respectful and open discussion that we all can work together to achieve a common ground. The current report is not final, it is a draft to be considered and modified. The commission encourages civil discourse, listens to and considers all comments.

The commission’s report is a vision that has been developed through a year-long process for considering current and future challenges, regular citizen input, review of other municipal practices in Maine and an understanding of the traditions of our town. We encourage you to be part of that process.

Michael Gurtler

Charter Commission Chair

Bar Harbor

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