What is the remedy in an administrative appeal when the fact-finder doesn’t do its job by making findings of fact to explain its decision? As the Law Court recently reaffirmed in Fair Elections Portland, Inc. v. City of Portland, the proper remedy is generally a remand for further proceedings.
Fair Elections Portland involved a Rule 80B challenge relating to a citizen-initiated change to a municipal charter. Under Maine law, charter “amendments” and charter “revisions” are treated differently. The former must be submitted directly to the voters, while the latter can only be submitted to voters upon recommendation of a charter commission. If a charter revision is proposed and is accompanied by statutorily-mandated language, it must be put to the voters as a proposal to form a charter commission. In Fair Elections Portland, voters sought to modify Portland’s charter, and characterized it as an amendment; however, the statutory form language regarding a charter commission was not included.