CHESTERVILLE — Selectmen agreed Thursday night to have two board members review town bills and match them to the warrant for payment.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Guy Iverson proposed the change. One selectman will read each bill and provide information on what it was for and another will match the warrant with the bills.
The change comes after some selectmen found out after last week’s special town meeting that approved $3,500 to pay an IRS penalty that the payment had already been made. The penalty was for payroll taxes, according to Iverson.
At Thursday’s meeting, Iverson also requested that the due date for bills to be paid be included, as well as information about upcoming bills.
“If we read off what we have of next week’s bills, we’ll know what is coming up. We’ll have a preview of next week,” Iverson said.
When selectmen went through the warrant for town bills on Sept. 1, some said they thought the IRS payment was a quarterly payment for employee taxes. Others knew it was for the penalty but never said anything, either that night or on Sept. 8 during the selectmen meeting or the special town meeting.
“It was like a kid taking $20 and then asking later if he could have it. People knew and let it happen. I have a problem with that,” former Selectman John Worth said,
Craig Stickney, who served as moderator at the special town meeting, said the warrant article asking for money should have been amended to read: “use money from undesignated funds to replace moneys paid to the IRS,” since it had not been budgeted.
“It was illegal, immoral and unethical,” Stickney said.
The IRS penalty was paid from the administration account.
Iverson said he didn’t ask what the IRS payment was for.
Selectman David Archer, who resigned at Thursday night’s meeting said he thumbed through the warrant but didn’t look at it closely.
Selectman Mattthew Welch said the bill shouldn’t have been on the warrant.
“Everybody made a mistake. None was worse than anyone else’s,” resident Kathy Gregory said.
Anne Lambert, who also resigned as selectman Thursday night, said, “I knew. I made a mistake. I’m not the only one who knew.”
“We’re all equally responsible,” Welch said.
“It was an embarrassing mistake. Stop being reactive, start getting involved. Learn from it instead of pointing fingers,” Gregory said.