OLD TOWN, Maine — City Manager Peggy Daigle resigned effective immediately during a brief special City Council meeting on Thursday night.
With all seven city councilors on hand, the meeting lasted about five minutes. The vote to accept Daigle’s resignation was 6-1.
Daigle was temporarily relieved of her duties Wednesday afternoon after a tenure of more than six years.
Daigle said she will be on 90 days’ administrative leave before terminating her employment, as agreed to in her contract.
“I want it noted that this decision was not for cause, simply a choice on the part of the City Council to take the city into a new direction with new leadership,” Daigle said in a clear strong voice, reading from the letter of resignation she submitted on Thursday.
“My work in Old Town has been very rewarding and I have enjoyed the challenge that the city presented me,” said Daigle, who was accompanied by her husband, Maurice.
“You know, the council wants to thank you for all your years of service,” Council Chairman David Mahan said after the council’s vote.
Councilor Scott LaFlamme, who cast the only vote against accepting Daigle’s resignation, was the only other council member to speak.
“It’s been an interesting few years,” he said. “I think a lot of the successful things you’ve done seem to be overshadowed lately by economic adversity, so I don’t think you get all the respect that you ought to,” said LaFlamme, who is pursuing a public administration degree at the University of Maine. He said he learned a great deal from Daigle.
Also in her letter, Daigle cited some of her major accomplishments as Old Town’s city manager, including dealing with three former elementary school buildings and the economic realities that came with the closure of the city’s paper mill and its subsequent redevelopment. She also led the effort that staved off the potential loss of Old Town Canoe by packaging a deal that brought 50 new jobs to Old Town.
She noted that she also playing a key role in negotiating a landfill host agreement among the city, state and Casella Waste Management. She said the landfill host agreement brings the city more than $1 million in revenue and that a related agreement for a proposed two-phase landfill gas project will be equally lucrative for the city.
Those accomplishments, she noted, left Old Town “more competitively poised in the Greater Bangor region for most development opportunities and is now able to stand as a potential site to be selected for growth.” She ended her her letter by wishing the city “all the best” and by saying she would remain a strong supporter of its goals.
Mahan said Thursday that he would not release a statement on Daigle’s resignation until Friday.
He did say, however, that Assistant City Manager Bill Mayo, who is well versed in day-to-day operations, will serve as acting manager until the council determines how it will fill the manager’s position.
That likely won’t be decided until this summer, he said.
“We have to get through the budget first. That’s our main concern,” he said.
Daigle was tapped to lead Old Town in 2004 after working as the town manager in Houlton. She also spent five years as East Millinocket’s administrative assistant in the mid-1990s.
Last year the Maine Town and City Management Association awarded Daigle its 2010 Leadership Award, given to a manager in recognition of a particularly innovative project or for solving an unusually difficult problem.
Daigle was nominated largely because of her leadership in handling the closing of the town’s paper mill and surrounding issues.
Mahan submitted a letter of support for the nomination, noting her leadership in high-profile projects, including redevelopment of the Old Town mill, and her ability to play a key role in the “smaller aspects of daily life which receive little recognition.”