Millinocket Slashes MAGIC Funding in Half

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Millinocket Slashes MAGIC Funding in Half

A noble gesture by the Town of Millinocket, but The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy have burrowed deep into your town. In effect they run it now. Your gesture may be satisfying, but either green group can buy and sell Millinocket with their pocket change. To quote the famous Belushi line from Animal House; "Game over, Man."

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Millinocket Slashes MAGIC Funding in Half

Bangor Daily News Millinocket slashes MAGIC funding in half
Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - Bangor Daily News
-------------------------------NICK SAMBIDES JR., OF THE NEWS STAFFMILLINOCKET - The new Town Council pressed the election's hot-button issue when it voted 4-3 on Monday to strip a regional economic development board of $25,000 in funding to signal its strong disapproval of an environmental group the board had worked with. With new members David Cyr and Wallace Paul casting key votes, the council reversed a pre-election decision - and complied with the results of a referendum vote - and cut in half the funding it promised to the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council earlier this year.Made because the council majority disapproved of MAGIC's working with The Wilderness Society on a grant to help build an enviro-friendly industrial park in town, the vote will make it difficult for MAGIC to fulfill its goal of drawing businesses and creating jobs in Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway, MAGIC Executive Director Bruce McLean said."It's going to be difficult for us to get through the winter," McLean said after the vote. "It's going to take away a lot of time and energy that we could spend looking for work here. Instead, we'll be looking for funding."Ironically, the vote came just after East Millinocket's Board of Selectmen agreed to pursue establishing a business loan program with MAGIC that will immediately help one business, and at least 10 jobs, move into East Millinocket by summer, if all goes well.MAGIC has an operating budget of about $200,000 and employs two full-time and two part-time employees, McLean said.The pre-vote discussion among councilors and more than 50 residents tested new Chairman John Davis and stirred the economic fears of residents in a town where unemployment is about 30 percent. It also highlighted the conflict-of-interest accusations against Councilors Gail Fanjoy and Matthew Polstein, despite the two announcing that they had resigned their positions on MAGIC's board of directors late last week.Resident Beth Mahoney, who is unemployed, told councilors that the vote would kill MAGIC and with it, the area's best chance of drawing new jobs. Without MAGIC and the "excellent job" it's doing, Millinocket could stagnate and become a ghost town, she said."Do you want your town to live? Do you? Would you like to have a job? That's what counts," she said. "At least the Wilderness Society is willing to help. You have to have an economic development organization getting jobs into this town and somebody has to deal with that."Resident John DiCentes disagreed. Allowing a radical environmental organization like The Wilderness Society into Millinocket would eventually help doom the area's fragile wood mill-based economy, he said.He also rejected assertions by Fanjoy and Polstein that many voters did not understand the referendum question and inadvertently voted contrary to their own wishes."Everybody knows what the question was," DiCentes said.Resident Ken Anderson, who backed the anti-Wilderness effort, blamed town attorney Dean Beaupain, who wrote the referendum question, for causing confusion, and pointed out that Beaupain is also a MAGIC board member. [url=http://www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=103229&z=183]http://www.bang...

Michelle Anderson
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Re: Millinocket Slashes MAGIC Funding in Half

The headline is somewhat misleading, though it certainly causes me to smile.We did not slash their funding; we set it back to the $25,000 we were obligated to give them. At our budget meetings, MAGIC asked for $50,000. When asked why so much, Bruce McLean answered, essentially, "because we know it's there."The fact that MAGIC had accepted a $25,000 grant from The Wilderness Society angered many of the people in this town, including 3 sitting councilors and one ex-councilor, all of whom were joined by me to form a Committee to Overturn Council Action. One of those councilors offered MAGIC $75,000 if they would ditch TWS. MAGIC declined, and now denies that this offer -- made in public -- was made to them.At any rate, a large majority of the citizens of Millinocket voted to overturn the extra $25,000, despite the fact that Dean Beaupain, town attorney and MAGIC executive board member, worded the question so it was virtually unrecognizable.An intense campaign ensured, with MAGIC taking out full-page ads and COCA spending approximately $60.00 on printing and many manhours to educate the public.Now, Polstein and Fanjoy, who promised to resign from the Council if the referendum were passed, are trying to convince people that the public was confused when they voted on this and are now refusing to resign.Instead, they have resigned from the board of MAGIC. Apparently, the concepts of integrity and ethics are so foreign to them that they believe resigning from that board after 2+ years of citizens asking them to recuse themselves from MAGIC interests due to their conflicts of interest will somehow erase the years of disgraceful conduct, including not only those conflicts, but several Open Meetings Act violations.Recall petitions for those two continues. Citizens who wish to sign, however, must go to the town hall to do so.

Anonymous
Re: Millinocket Slashes MAGIC Funding in Half

Wait until your teachers start waving around copies of the Portland Contract signed last night by the School Committee and the lavish salary and benefit schedule...when Portland sneezes, the rest of Maine catches cold!

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