Millinocket, ME -- The newly appointed Commissioner for the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) managed towns that received multiple citations for violating the laws he will now be administering, according to documents released today by Maine Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). LURC Commissioner James Nadeau denies all responsibility for violations committed by the Town of Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation Town Manager for Eagle Lake and Chairman of the Board of Assessors for Winterville.
Nominated by Senator John Martin, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee last month approved the appointment of John Nadeau to serve as the new commissioner for the LURC, which acts as the local planning and zoning board for 10.4 million acres of Maine's unorganized territories. Nadeau's confirmation came amidst denial of any wrongdoing relating to the recorded violations by the Town of Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation during the time he served as town manager for Eagle Lake and Chairman of the Board of Assessors for Winterville.
Reflecting concern over the appointment of Nadeau, LURC staff wrote a letter on January 29, 2004, to the Governor's office, which stated, "One concern has arisen is the number of LURC violations Eagle Lake and Winterville Plantation have sustained connected to Nadeau in his position as selectperson." Since 1992, under Nadeau's leadership, Eagle Lake and Winterville have violated LURC standards on four occasions:
· Winterville constructed a salt and sand shed without a permit. · Winterville harvested wood in a sub-district without a permit. Nadeau signed off on a six hundred dollar penalty as part of a settlement agreement but, he has not met all of the requirements of the agreement. · In 1997 Winterville operated a commercial mineral extraction pit without a permit. According to documents, "this activity continued without corrective action for several years after (violation) notification was given." · In 2002, the Town of Eagle Lake, under direction of Nadeau, constructed a road extension for a bus turnaround on state property. The Town did not have a permit for the construction nor did they have a lease from the state.
Despite his municipal leadership responsibilities, Nadeau has denied involvement and on many occasions has disregarded requests by LURC to resolve the violations. In an October 2003 questionnaire from the Governor's office, Nadeau denied that he had ever been sanctioned or reprimanded by a professional or occupational board. During the confirmation hearings, Senator Richard Kneeland asked Nadeau if there had ever been any conflict with LURC in the past. Nadeau replied, "Not that I am aware of."
"It's like the fox guarding the hen house," states Tim Caverly, field director of Maine PEER. "Given Mr. Nadeau's position at the time of the violations, for him not to know what was going on either meant he lied or he really didn't know--which might be even scarier."