New road commissioner appointed in Blue Hill

BLUE HILL — The Select Board voted unanimously Jan. 24 to appoint Ben Adams, owner of Adams Landscaping in Blue Hill, as the new road commissioner.

Adams will succeed longtime road commissioner Bill Cousins, whose term ends April 2.

The change comes along with a change in how the town’s road commissioner is chosen.

Voters at the annual Town Meeting last year agreed, at the board’s suggestion, to make the position an appointed one instead of an elected one.

Cousins said he had talked with the board about being appointed road commissioner, but the parties couldn’t “come to terms.”

Selectman Jim Dow said Tuesday that duties and compensation for Adams were still being discussed.

Adams said his appointment is for one year.

The board had two candidates for the appointment, according to Dow.

Interviews with the candidates were held during an executive session at the Jan. 24 meeting. The board made a tentative appointment after re-entering the public meeting, Dow said.

The American asked Select Board member Ellen Best, who is an attorney for Adams, about a potential conflict of interest.

Best said there was no conflict of interest there.

“If you review the criteria for a conflict of interest for a government official making a decision, my past representation of Ben Adams does not fall within that definition,” Best said. “We are operating in a small town, and I have been practicing law here for 37 years. In doing so, I have represented hundreds of Blue Hill residents.”

Last March, Adams, through Ellsworth attorney Daniel Pileggi sent the town of Blue Hill a warning letter that any communication with him should be directed to Pileggi.

Adams had contacted Pileggi after being frustrated with a dispute with neighbors over his business’s use of the Turkey Farm Road. Some residents of the road say the truck traffic is excessive, unsafe and causing damage and pollution.

During a meeting at the time, Selectman Dow paraphrased the letter as stating that neither the town nor its representative, meaning the road commissioner, could stop commercial trucks to do any type of enforcement.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.