Washington County manager resigns

Posted Jan. 07, 2010, at 9:22 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — The first and only county manager in Washington County, Linda Pagels Wentworth, resigned her position Thursday afternoon, effective Feb. 5.

Asked whether she was taking the town manager’s position in Baileyville, which is much closer to her Calais home, Wentworth only said, “Come to the [Baileyville] selectmen’s meeting on January 11th.”

The county commissioners praised Wentworth for her three years of service.

“You not only filled but you created a position,” commissioners’ Chairman Chris Gardner said. “It has not been without its challenges. You made my job easier.”

Gardner said the position, for which Wentworth was receiving a little more than $49,000 a year, will be posted immediately and advertised in local and statewide newspapers.

He said there would be no closing date for applications. “The search will remain open until a suitable candidate is found,” he said.

Before the commissioners got down to discussing budget quandaries, a special presentation was made by Gardner and Sheriff Donnie Smith to David Norman of Woodland, naming Norman the 2009 Washington County Citizen of the Year.

Norman, a security officer at Domtar paper mill, was at work last November when he heard Baileyville Police Chief Philip Harriman asking for assistance.

Smith said Harriman had been attempting to serve a protection from harassment order on David Troy when Troy allegedly “viciously attacked” Harriman.

“The first person that responded was David Norman,” Smith said.

Norman said he was a former Baileyville police officer and had known Harriman “since he was a baby.” Norman said that when he arrived, it was clear that Harriman was injured.

“His face was covered with blood,” Norman said. “He had the man on the ground but couldn’t get control of him.”

Troy, 49, eventually was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer.

Norman said his actions were instinctive and he really didn’t feel like a hero.

Gardner, however, praised Norman’s actions. “It’s not everyone that would do this,” Gardner said, noting he was humbled by Norman’s quick action.

“What you did that day was not only greatly in the interest of Chief Harriman, but also important to the people of Washington County,” he said. “We are quick to call out those who don’t perform, and it is great to have an opportunity to praise those who really do.”

In other business, the commissioners set public hearings for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, to accept a new revolving loan fund program for the Unorganized Territory and to discuss a Community Development Block Grant program to upgrade technology and staff at the county’s Regional Communications Center.

After the meeting, the commissioners adjourned to the Machias Savings Bank to close on property recently acquired across the street from the Washington County Courthouse that will be used for additional parking.