Oxford planners now have quorum, can meet to conduct business

0
4815

OXFORD — The Planning Board is expected to meet tonight, Thursday, Sept. 14, with a quorum after not having had one for a couple of weeks.

Oxford selectmen, at their Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting, appointed Stuart Synder to fill one of three vacant seats, but tabled a request by Mark Blaquiere to serve.

Until last week’s unanimous appointment, the Planning Board only had two members, which would not provide the quorum necessary to conduct business.

The five-member Planning Board was reduced to two full members, with no alternatives available, after three members resigned within the last month. A fourth member resigned in June.

The town has been advertising for three members and received Blaquiere’s application several weeks ago. Synder submitted his application to serve on the board on Tuesday, Sept. 5, two days before his appointment was made.

The 4-1 vote to table Blaquiere’s appointment, with Selectman Scott Hunter casting the dissenting vote, came with no explanation.

When asked by a resident at the end of the meeting, why Blaquiere’s appointment was tabled, Chairman Pete Laverdiere said appointments are at the discretion of the selectmen.

“We felt it needed to be tabled and this is what we did,” said Lavediere. “That’s the explanation you’re going to get.”

When pressed for further explanation, Laverdiere declined.

Blaquiere was fired in June from the Oxford Fire Department because surveillance video showed that he and another firefighter broke into the former fire chief’s office and packed up his personal items in December 2016, according to his termination letter from then-Interim Town Manager Becky Lippincott.

Blaquiere said after the meeting that he was blindsided by the board’s action to table his request to be appointed to the volunteer position.

Gerald Nicklaus, Dana Dillingham and Denise Landsberg were the remaining members of the Planning Board and constituted a quorum allowing the board to meet and take action until Nicklaus resigned two weeks ago. Dillingham and Landsberg had been elevated from alternates, who can step in to vote when necessary, to full members this summer.

Nicklaus’ resignation followed those of former Chairman Stuart Davis on Aug. 11 and Dennis Fournier on Aug. 14, just days after the two cast dissenting voted in a controversial 3-2 approval of the town’s third and final marijuana grow permit on Aug. 10.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net