When you hear the name Janet Jamison, a few things could run through your mind. Similar to Norway resident Andrea Burns, and Otisfield resident Lee Dassler, she’s somewhat of a small town celebrity with all of the headlines she’s made.
Not to mention the feathers she’s ruffled, but we’ll talk about that later.
To some, she’s a nagging person who some may feel only voices her concerns at Paris meetings just to hear herself speak. But to others, she’s an independent woman who is willing to put the risk of judgment on the line, just to make sure that her town is moving in the right direction.
For us, we’d agree with the latter.
But that’s so like Paris, isn’t it? Once you choose a side, whether theoretically or physically, (yes, we see how you residents sit on the same side of the room as the selectmen you support), the match is set. Some see her as rough, others see her as determined.
So why is it that when the Paris Selectboard knows that they need to fill spots on their Budget Committee, they choose to opt out of filling one seat, just as long as Jamison isn’t warming it?
She’s caused rifts so much, in fact, that the Paris Selectboard was torn in their decision to approve her to the committee last Monday night. It was a close call, and came down to the determining vote of Selectman Ryan Lorrain that kept Jamison from the coveted spot she’s been asking for. This would make it the second time that the board shot down her request to be placed on the committee.
So in short, the Paris Selectboard chose to keep one more space open on the Budget Committee, on which Jamison was once a member, rather than filling the space to keep the board efficient. We can’t help but feel like bad blood and personal vendettas are behind the outcome.
We know that Paris Town Manager Amy Bernard and Jamison haven’t had the most amicable relationship and we’ve yet to know why, not to mention Jamison’s suggestion of some of the selectmen being sexist against women. Maybe the key to smooth working inner-mechanisms of the town is to kiss and make up or maybe just let bygones be bygones. In order for a proper government to work like a well-oiled machine, elected officials need to hold no bias or hard feelings toward any one individual that would slant voting, while still being able to rule with a strong fist.
The board members that voted to withhold her from the committee may have simply not seen Jamison as a good fit for the committee. They’ve also defended their vote by saying that the reason is Jamison’s at times abrasiveness toward the selectboard that may also hinder her relationship with other Budget Committee members. Which is logical, but she’s been on the board before and has kept amicable relationships with many of the members. In the past her credit has been backed up by Budget Committee members that spoke openly at selectboard meetings, having good things to say about her.
Here’s another argument one could make. Maybe Jamison’s standing as a concerned citizen has more of an overall impact on the town, than being part of a committee. As a strong voice for the town of Paris, maybe her comments and concerns brought up during open session are more important for the overall growth of the town than being a voice on the Budget Committee.
But that’s just our view of the situation, do with it what you will. It’s not like we can spend time in board members’ shoes, or Amy Bernard’s. And thank goodness for that, Bernard and the board have their hands full over there.
Is there a way for Paris to find a balance in their feelings against Janet’s antics, while still being fair and not putting the progress of the town on the line?
We’ve yet to find out, but knowing Miss Jamison, this isn’t the last we’ll see of her. Hell hath no fury like a determined woman scorned, let alone a determined woman scorned twice.