BAILEYVILLE, Maine — Town officials are hoping the beauty and peacefulness of the Baileyville area will attract a new town manager as soon as possible after the unexpected resignation this week of Michael Foster.
“But we are realistic,” Interim Town Manager Dorothy A. Johnson said this week. “We want any candidates to take a look at the area in January and discover they love this place as much as we do. We need them to stay.”
Baileyville has had five town managers in the past five years.
One left to return to his home own and a town manager’s position there; another stepped back and took a position on the local school board; one was fired; one left because he felt the area was too isolated; and the most recent manager is suffering a medical disability.
To keep things running, Johnson, chairman of the Town Council, has been filling in as interim town manager.
“I just make sure all the bills are paid,” Johnson said this week.
Johnson had the task of announcing Monday night that Foster resigned effective immediately. Because of a medical condition, Foster is losing his eyesight and his eye specialist took away his driver’s license.
Foster had just begun as town manager on Sept. 1.
Luke Lazure, Foster’s predecessor, lasted just seven months on the job.
“He felt it was too isolated here,” Johnson said.
Johnson has appealed to the county for assistance and has been promised advice and consulting services from the county manager, Linda Pagels Wentworth, while the town undergoes the hiring process for a new manager.
Johnson said that the job of guiding the town will be a tremendous but worthwhile challenge.
The town is a community of 1,600 people with its own school system. Its largest employer is Domtar, a paper mill.
“We have wonderful environmental benefits,” Johnson said. “But the economy is lagging here just like everywhere else.”
Johnson said a new town manager will have the advantage of the recent opening of a third port of entry across the Canadian border just east of Baileyville.
“This has strategically placed our industrial park and we are starting to get more business interest,” she said. “Domtar is running well and also looking to diversify.”
Johnson said the town has been putting money away each year toward a property revaluation and the “townspeople have always been supportive of our budget.”
The manager’s position is a full-time, 40-hours-per-week job that reports to a council form of government. Johnson said the position would pay between $50,000 and $60,000, depending on experience and benefit package.
Johnson said the town has a lot of projects under way and needs an experienced manager.
“We can’t fool around with someone that hopes to learn the business,” she said. “We’ve got too many things going on.”