June 06, 2020

Nays still have it after three votes on Somesville officer

MOUNT DESERT — After three tries, the vote was still “no.”

A group of determined Somesville residents put the rules of order at town meeting to a test this week when a hand vote on an issue related to their village was rejected by a two-vote margin.

At issue was a request brought by petition that the town appropriate $5,900 for a foot patrol officer for the village. According to Somesville resident Jean Fernald, folks can’t cross the main street during the busy summer months because of the swift-moving and persistent traffic.

The tiny village on Somes Sound is now the home of a general store, a bookstore, a library, a funeral parlor, a museum and a fire station. When a famous author appears at the bookstore or library, cars block traffic, people try to cross the street, and the resulting congestion is an accident waiting to happen, according to concerned residents.

But opinion at town meeting was split. A vote by hand showed 105 people thought a foot patrol officer could be effective in controlling Somesville traffic; 107 said no.

When the required seven people stood to challenge that vote, moderator Robert Suminsby also rose to the challenge by sending the ayes to one side of the gymnasium, the naysayers to the opposite end. Climbing down from bleachers and scrambling over metal chairs, more than 200 people stretched their limbs and hurried to “take sides” on the issue.

Again the vote was split, this time 100 in favor of the motion and 104 opposed.

The determined seven rose to their feet again to challenge the vote. Undaunted, Suminsby directed the now dispersed voters to their chairs, then called for people to stand in place for their votes to be counted.

When the votes were counted again, the motion had failed, this time by a three-vote margin.

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