City councils in Bangor and Brewer will vote on resolves next week that will appoint five members from each city to a committee aimed at looking for efficiencies and cost savings.
The recommended appointees in Bangor are: Bill Lucy, president of Merrill Bank; John Simpson, president of the board of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; Thom Johnston, president of the New England School of Communications at Husson University; Evelyn Silver, senior adviser to the president of the University of Maine; and the Rev. Bob Carlson of Penobscot Community Health Care.
Brewer’s recommendations are: Jim Mullen, a retired banker; Lester Young, who works the for the School Department; Joe Cote, plant manager at Cianbro; Bev Uhlenhake, a commercial real estate agent and member of the Brewer Planning Board; and Gail Kelly, a former city councilor who works for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Bangor City Council Chairman Richard Stone said it was important to appoint people to the committee who were not affiliated with the City Council. He said the five recommended appointees from Bangor represent a broad section of the community but all share three traits: compassion, an eye for savings and a love for the city.
Similarly, Brewer City Council Chairman Joe Ferris said he and his colleagues worked hard to find people who can represent the best interests of Brewer.
In addition to the resident appointees, the city managers and finance directors for each city will sit on the committee.
Separate resolves are scheduled to be presented at the Feb. 8 council meeting in Bangor and the Feb. 9 council meeting in Brewer. If they are approved, the committee will start meeting later this month.
The idea of creating a joint committee was brought up early last year as a way to come up with potential collaboration and cost savings between the communities that share the Penobscot River.
Bangor councilors quickly passed a resolve to approve such a committee. Brewer councilors discussed the idea multiple times but did not approve the same resolve. The matter went to referendum last November, and Brewer voters overwhelmingly approved the idea.
Written into each council’s resolve is a time frame of no more than 18 months, but Ferris said the committee would make periodic recommendations about potential savings or efficiencies. Each recommendation then would need to be passed by both councils.