Bangor moves toward clearer vision

Posted Dec. 11, 2009, at 8:18 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The City Council outlined its collective vision statement for the future of Bangor this week, and it can best be summed up in two words: moving forward.

The nine-member council met Wednesday for the second time in two weeks and came up with a list of six individual statements — corresponding to the six letters in Bangor — that sum up their vision for the Queen City.

That vision is expected to be formalized at the City Council meeting later this month, Chairman Richard Stone said Friday. “When we get the final copy of the vision and all the phrasing is proper, we’re going to make it available to the public.”

In the fallout over the council’s decision to force City Manager Ed Barrett to retire more than a year ahead of his contract term, councilors have felt public pressure to explain their thought process. One of the reasons given for parting ways with Barrett, who held the city manager position for 22 years, was the council’s desire to move Bangor in a new direction with a new vision.

While the entire vision statement was not revealed on Thursday, some parts of the vision include creating a more hospitable environment for economic development; building on the city’s best asset, its quality of place; and balancing environmental preservation.

The City Council also is considering adopting a municipal motto of “Bangor, moving forward.”

The two sessions not only have given councilors the chance to articulate their vision for Bangor but have gone a long way toward healing a fracture that had been building in recent months.

“People worked together, everyone participated; I thought it was great,” Stone said of the sessions.

“It was the most cordial meeting we’ve had,” Councilor Cary Weston said of this week’s meeting. “I think everyone is moving forward with the same goals.”

Still, even as the council tries to heal, five of the nine — those who last month affirmed an initial council vote to part ways with Barrett — are facing a recall. Petitioner Jim Elmore had until early March to gather 2,286 signatures to force a recall election.

The city also will be without a city manager come Christmas, when Barrett leaves for his new post as city administrator in Lewiston. Along those lines, the council will meet in executive session before Monday’s regular council meeting to appoint an interim city manager, likely someone from the existing municipal staff.

This week, the council completed its list of traits it hopes to find in a new city manager. Like the vision statement, that list will be made available to the public soon for comment before it eventually goes to a recruitment firm that will be hired to conduct the search.

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