April 26, 2018
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Brewer school board to hold workshop Monday on upcoming superintendent referendum

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — School board members want to educate residents about the upcoming city charter referendum that, if approved, will require future superintendents to live in the city and — they say — severely limit the pool of candidates.

The panel will host a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday about the June 12 referendum. The workshop will be held at the student services conference room at Brewer High School.

“The purpose of this proposed amendment to the city of Brewer charter is to require any superintendent of schools hired July 1, 2013, and thereafter, to become a resident of the city of Brewer within three years after first being hired,” an explanation about the amendment states.

The original proposed amendment said the move had to be made within one year, and after the school board voted unanimously in opposition to the measure in March, the City Council changed the original order to add the extra time.

Residents voted to require the city manager to live within city limits in 2002 by a 5-to-1 margin, said City Councilor Larry Doughty, who proposed both of the residency requirement votes. He said he thinks the superintendent should live by the same rules as the city manager.

“That is the highest-paid job in the city of Brewer,” Doughty said Thursday. The current superintendent “gets paid around $120,000, with pay and benefits,” he said.

Doughty said he proposed changing the city charter after learning that the current superintendent, Daniel Lee, is retiring next year. The longtime councilor said he remembers when the Bangor School Committee hired a superintendent from New Jersey several years ago, a move he thought was “strange.”

“He would fly back home about every weekend, and to heck with living in Bangor,” Doughty said.

Mayor Jerry Goss, who spent years as the Brewer High School principal, said Wednesday that he fully supports the school board, which will be doing the hiring.

“The number of candidates for superintendent is very shallow,” he said. “I don’t think we’re in a good position in Brewer” to tie the hands of those doing the hiring.

Doughty said he will support whatever residents support.

“I say let the voters decide,” he said.

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