NORRIDGEWOCK — The woman who was fired Jan. 30 from her job in the town office and is running for a selectman’s seat said she previously filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Charlotte Curtis, 66, said the town discriminated against her because of her age, though she declined to provide details.

The commission, which enforces Maine’s anti-discrimination laws, could not confirm whether it is involved in the matter. A case does not become public until it is included on a published commission meeting agenda.

Curtis said the complaint is officially listed as being against the town, but the allegations are aimed at Town Manager Michelle Flewelling. Curtis also filed a union grievance after she was fired for making audio recordings of conversations at the front desk.

Flewelling and board chairman Ron Frederick said they could not comment.

An additional issue is whether Curtis, if elected, can be a selectman, not because of the complaint or grievance but because of potential unfinished business with the town: uncollected sewer bills.

Though Curtis was fired from her 40-hour-per-week job as office clerk in the town office, she still retains her elected positions of town clerk and treasurer until the March 5 elections. As treasurer, she is responsible for collecting sewer bill payments, which residents make in return for using the town’s sewer system.

“Treasurers and tax collectors of towns may not simultaneously serve as municipal officers or as elected or appointed assessors until they have completed their duties and had a final settlement with the town,” according to Title 30-A, Chapter 121, Section 2526.

There is a total of $30,891 in uncollected sewer bills, according to town records. Thirteen of those are more than a year old and therefore past the time that the town can place a lien on the accounts. Recording a lien on them would guarantee payment.

The 13 bills older than a year total $10,130, with the oldest from June 2007.

It’s unknown what happens, then, if there are uncollected sewer payments when and if Curtis is elected selectman.

“Is there an issue? Yes,” said the town’s attorney, Phil Mohlar.

A spokesman at the Maine Municipal Association said he could not comment because he was not familiar with the details in Norridgewock.

Curtis said there are uncollected sewer bills because in the last couple of years she decided not to record a lien on the unpaid accounts. Once a lien is placed and 18 months passes without full repayment, the person’s house goes into foreclosure in order to recover payment.

“I just said no. I’m not going to put people in that position over a sewer bill. I’m not going to do it,” she said.

“I just didn’t want these people to lose their homes because of something as silly as a sewer bill. So many people are out of work. They’ve lost their jobs,” she said.

Instead, she worked with people to arrange payment plans. Most, but not all, people paid over time, she said.

The town’s sewer use ordinance states: “There shall be a lien to secure the payment of sewer charges legally assessed on real estate within the Town … The Treasurer of the Town shall have the authority and power to sue for and collect the sewer charges.”

Flewelling said if some people don’t pay, everyone else will have to carry the cost. People who don’t pay could cause sewer rates to increase to make up for the amount not being collected.

Curtis is not running again for the positions of town clerk and treasurer.

In regard to the human rights commission, Curtis said she filed the complaint more than a year ago and doesn’t know where the case currently stands.

Amy Snierson, executive director of the human rights commission, said people may reveal their own complaints, but she is prohibited from discussing any possible case.

An investigator looks into each complaint and completes a report that the commission then considers in order to make a determination about whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination occurred.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.