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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

"To be sworn"?

  • 08 Jul 2009 9:30 PM
    Message # 193146
    Deleted user
    I'm curious about the statutory requirement that road commissioners or board members are "to be sworn".  The statute doesn't provide any further information on this, and I would hate to risk introducing a defect into the formation of an association over a bad oath.

    Should I assume that the oath to be sworn is the Oath of Office (http://janus.state.me.us/legis/const/Constitution2005-14.htm) required in the Maine Constitution?  Who must administer the oath, a Notary Public, a Dedimus Justice, the meeting moderator or some other person?  Should a certificate of qualification or other such proof that the commissioner or board members have been sworn be completed by the person administering the oath, and kept in the records of the association?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • 08 Jul 2009 9:32 PM
    Reply # 193149 on 193146
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I've looked on your site and it seems you are the expert here! I wonder if there isn't some general oath that applies to the swearing in of board members somewhere. In the nonprofit statute?
  • 08 Jul 2009 9:46 PM
    Reply # 193161 on 193146
    Deleted user
    I'm thinking that since the private way statute confers the "powers of a road commissioner" (that is, a municipal road commissioner) upon the person elected by the association, that it's the Oath of Office required by the state constitution -- particularly since the law doesn't specify any other oath.

    Has anyone had their commissioner swear an oath, and if so, which one, and who administered it?
    Last modified: 08 Jul 2009 9:46 PM | Deleted user
  • 08 Jul 2009 11:18 PM
    Reply # 193176 on 193146
    Deleted user
    The way I read it a commissioner is just elected-kinda like any organization?  I don't understand where the "oath" requirement is coming from.  Heck, the law even allows us to not follow Robert's Rules as long as we run a fair and equitable meeting.
  • 09 Jul 2009 7:51 AM
    Reply # 193282 on 193146
    Deleted user
    The requirement comes directly from the Private Ways statute, in 23 MRSA 3101(5):

    The owners of parcels of land benefited by a private road, private way or bridge at a meeting called pursuant to subsection 2 may choose a commissioner or board, to be sworn.

  • 12 Jul 2010 9:39 AM
    Reply # 380866 on 193146
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I've had the same concern regarding the requirement to be "sworn". I asked our attorney what it meant and he responded that the fact that I was nominated to be Road Commissioner, elected by vote and accepted the position, constituted me being sworn.

    I hope he was right!

  • 12 Jul 2010 10:52 AM
    Reply # 380898 on 380866
    Deleted user
    Peter Dunn wrote:

    I've had the same concern regarding the requirement to be "sworn". I asked our attorney what it meant and he responded that the fact that I was nominated to be Road Commissioner, elected by vote and accepted the position, constituted me being sworn.

    I hope he was right!



    Oh, I'd say he's wrong.  I'm surprised he'd say such a thing, being a sworn officer himself.

    "To be sworn" has a simple and unambiguous meaning: to take a solemn oath.  To be elected is not enough; that's why every elected official from the President on down to local Planning Board members, and even camp road commissioners, must be sworn in before exercising the powers of their office.  Until that time, you have not qualified to hold office.

    It's easy enough to be sworn in.  Find a Notary Public, an attorney, or a Dedimus Justice, and have them administer the following oath:

    I, (name) do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so long as I shall continue a citizen thereof. So help me God.
    I (name) do swear, that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties incumbent on me as Road Commissioner according to the Constitution and laws of the State. So help me God.

    Should take about 30 seconds.  Cheap insurance against anyone claiming that your road commissioner never entered into office, and therefore has no power to assess fees.

    Last modified: 12 Jul 2010 10:52 AM | Deleted user
  • 03 Aug 2010 12:49 PM
    Reply # 395612 on 193146
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Todd, I took your advice and prepared a document of oath which our Town Clerk provided the draft for. It was the same form of oath as used by elected municipal officers. I had one of our road association members who is a notary administer the oath and affix their stamp. I now believe I/we have reasonably met the requirements of the statute.

    Thank you for your good comments.

  • 03 Aug 2010 2:18 PM
    Reply # 395666 on 395612
    Deleted user
    Glad to hear it, Peter. Better safe than sorry.

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