Mystery Unfolds Over Berlin Utility Seat

BERLIN – Mike Beaman does not know whether he will be appointed to the Berlin Utilities Commission (BUC) or not, despite an agenda item at Monday night’s Mayor and Council meeting that seemed to indicate he would be.

Mayor Tom Cardinale, who makes commission appointments, injured his knee and could not make the Oct. 22 town council meeting.

No one seemed to know quite what was going on Monday night, except that the council cannot itself appoint a member of a town commission or board.      

“The mayor makes the appointment,” said Berlin Council Vice President Gee Williams at the meeting. “He’s obviously the only one who has the authority to do this.”

Despite being told in September that the mayor planned to appoint him, Beaman said, the appointment never materialized. “The mayor gave many indications I was going to be appointed, then it fell through,” said Beaman.

Cardinale decided he wanted to get the BUC’s opinion before going ahead and making the appointment.

“We’ve got to wait for him to come aboard again,” Beaman said of Cardinale. “Now I’m wondering if they’re going to say something different when it gets to the mayor again.”

Cardinale explained this week that there is actually a second candidate for the open slot on the BUC, Paul Gorman.

“I didn’t expect Mike to be on that agenda,” said Cardinale. “It’s going to be brought up at the next agenda, with two people. I can support wholeheartedly either one, so I’m going to let the council decide. Mike Beaman has my full confidence as does Paul Gorman.”

Cardinale asked the BUC to recommend a candidate for approval, but never heard back from that body. The relationship between the council and the BUC has been strained in the last year over the attempted sale of the Berlin electric system.

Cardinale said he does not  hold a grudge against Beaman, who strongly opposed the sale.

“That’s history. Everyone’s got an opinion,” Cardinale said. “To me that’s not a consideration.”

Beaman has applied for a post on the BUC before, but has been turned down.

“I think I’d be beneficial to the BUC. I do care,” said Beaman, a master electrician. “I hope it works out. If there’s someone else out there better qualified than I am, get ‘em aboard.”