SANGERVILLE, Maine — Paul Davis apologized for making an error during the Oct. 25 special town meeting, but he didn’t believe it required any major changes in how he has handled the moderator’s position. Davis spoke during the public forum portion of the Dec. 11 selectmen’s meeting.

Davis explained his approach to the moderator’s position, which he had held since the early 1980s.

During his tenure, he’s had two goals in mind. One is to make those who want to comment on a particular issue to feel comfortable enough to do so. The second is make sure the participants don’t leave the meeting with ill feelings toward their neighbors.

Davis explained his approach to the moderator’s position in a response to some recent criticism of how the selectmen’s special election was handled during the Oct. 25 town meeting. After the first round of voting, Davis prematurely announced Melissa Randall as the winner. Randall had a plurality but lacked the necessary majority to claim victory.

Davis’ premature declaration resulted in some residents leaving, believing the selectmen’s race had been settled.

“I’ll take responsibility for my mistake,” said Davis. “I recognized it right away ,and I don’t believe anybody left as a result of the error. I spoke to other people who say if anybody left, they must have been on the dead run.”

Resident Regan McPhetres brought Davis’ use of Robert’s Rules of Order into question with a Nov. 13 letter to the selectmen, alleging that Davis improperly used the rules during the special town meeting. McPhetres believes if the proper procedures had been applied, the confusion during the selectmen’s special election would have been avoided.

Davis was surprised that his recent performance received criticism, saying that he’s used the same method ever since he’s started. He defended his past performance by stating that attendance and participation at the Sangerville town meetings were among the best in the area, and he believes his approach has made those feel welcome to take part during the discussions.

“That’s the way I’ve done it over the years and I don’t see a reason to change it,” Davis said. “I’ve spoken to Selectwoman Melissa Randall, who said I followed the correct procedure for 95 percent of the meeting. Both her and Tom Carone called me after the selectmen’s meeting to express their support for my efforts.”

Following his address, Davis received a round of applause from the residents who attended the board meeting. McPhetres also attended the meeting but didn’t respond to any of the points made by Davis.

During the Nov. 13 selectmen’s meeting, McPhetres said his concerns didn’t reflect upon the election of Randall, who ultimately won in the third round of voting. He said he rather wanted to correct any problems now before any potentially legally embarrassing situations arise in the future.

11 replies on “Moderator apologizes for mistake at special Sangerville town meeting”

    1. It looks to me that just the facts were presented. I’m also sure there is more than one way to see things, I do it all the time.

    2. No, this is a story of of a longtime moderator who lauds and is satisfied with being 95% correct. That information, provided to him, by the person who was elected. Paul knows better than that, he has been in legislative leadership positions. He ran for Speaker of the House two years ago, if the man thinks that he can be Speaker of the Maine House, then he ought to be able to moderate a town meeting and follow the rules, not 95% of the time, but all of the time.

  1. If i remember right Davis has done the same thing before and we had to have a special town meeting and reelect a position. For Davis to say he has always used this procedure is true but his memory must be slipping if he doesn’t remember he made the same mistake before not to long ago. I remember it well.

  2. Paul Davis, has not changed anything in many years, for all of the mistakes he has made in the past 20 plus years he has always admitted he did it, “but”! as he always says. He walks the line, knowingly, so that he can deny everything while pulling off some good ones.

  3. Annual town meeting March 27,2010 Tom Carone was declared the winner over Charles Cleaves and Brent Randall in a three way race for selectman.. With Carone 65 votes, Cleaves 43 votes, and Randall 27 votes. Carone did not have the majority which Title 30 chapter 212 requires for a town with under 4000 people.. A special town meeting was held in April to elect a selectman. Davis was moderator, no apology was made then and no story and picture in the paper. Why now?

    1. Because someone finally made it an issue. Someone decided that he in someway must be held accountable, and is letting the press know about it. That’s why. It’s obvious that Davis should explain the statutory requirements prior to the initial vote. People would understand that a plurality margin is not a majority margin. But he does it “his way”.

  4. Being a moderator carries considerable responsibility. I have to ask if any of the below writers recognized the error at the time of the town’s meeting. If they had, why wasn’t the error brought up at that time? If the town meeting is conducted as it is in mine, the moderator is an elected position on the first article of the ballot. Anyone in Sangerville who feels more capable is welcome to assume that position provided the citizens agree.

    1. If those in attendance were told of the statutory requirements, which IS the moderator’s, responsibility, It is also the Boards responsibility to inform the moderator that he needs to disclose this fact (this has occurred more than once) then those who are questioning this fact wouldn’t have approached the newspaper about this repetitive flaw in his duties. I’m certain that there are plenty of people in town who could be 95% accurate, but are not nominated due to the “good ole boy” network. Don’t make it out to what it isn’t, it’s a couple of hours making sure that rules are followed, it’s certainly not being Speaker of the House,

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