Veazie to hire temporary manager while searching for permanent replacement

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 9:01 p.m.

VEAZIE, Maine — The Town Council voted Monday to enter negotiations with a retired Holden town manager to fill the vacant Veazie manager’s seat on a temporary basis.

Councilors voted 4-1 to speak with former Holden Town Manager Larry Varisco about the possibility of him working as town manager two or three days per week while the town fields applications to fill the position in the long term.

The council voted not to renew former Town Manager Bill Reed’s contract at a meeting on Sept. 12. Reed’s contract stipulated that the town would need to give him a month’s pay for each of his 18 years as manager if they voted to terminate his contract. His severance package totals more than $100,000.

Council Chairman Joseph Friedman said he was interested in picking a temporary replacement from a crop of former managers including Varisco; Sue Lessard, who has resigned as Hampden’s town manager; and former Castine and Belfast town manager Terry St. Peter.

The temporary position would last until the town finds its next manager, a task that Friedman estimated would take about eight weeks.

Friedman said he leaned toward Varisco after the former Holden manager expressed interest in helping Veazie with its transition during a recent phone call.

“I think we’d like to have someone on board ASAP,” Friedman said.

Councilor Jon Parker voted against the motion to negotiate with Varisco.

“I’ve never met the guy,” he said. “I’d like to meet him before we hire him.”

Next week, the council will discuss whether it wants to conduct the search for a long-term manager itself or hire an outside group, such as Eaton Peabody Consulting or Maine Municipal Association, to advertise the opening and sift through applicants.

Friedman said he felt Veazie could handle the search on its own and shouldn’t need to pay money for someone else to do the work, but the council would discuss all its options next week.

In other business, the council appointed Veazie Police Chief Mark Leonard as the town’s public safety officer on a temporary basis.

The town also will advertise an opening on the regional school unit board.

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