HOULTON, Maine — While the community is still without a permanent leader four months after the former town manager resigned to take a job in the private sector, town councilors on Monday evening said they were getting closer to hiring someone to take over the position.
During a brief meeting at the Town Office, Council Chairman Paul Cleary filled the public in on the search for a replacement for Doug Hazlett, who resigned as manager in March after seven years in the position.
Cleary said the town recently had accepted a second round of applications as part of the search process, which has generated interest from 34 applicants. The council met in executive session after Monday evening’s regular meeting to review the applications and start the interview process.
The chairman said the council was pleased with the experience level of the applicants and was anxious to find someone with the right fit for the town.
“We want a new town manager soon,” Cleary said.
Hazlett was hired in March 2005 and took over just as the town was poised to negotiate new contracts with employees in all five of its municipal departments. He helped to complete the building of infrastructure to extend water and sewer systems to serve some North Road businesses, and helped lure new businesses to that area and others in town. He helped to create new sidewalks in the community and rebuild existing ones, and he also worked to get the state to repair a section of Route 2A known as Bangor Street after the project had been delayed for eight years.
Hazlett also was instrumental in creating a number of tax increment financing districts in the community and in finding money to improve Riverfront Park near the downtown.
Town Clerk Cathy O’Leary is serving as interim town manager. She has held the position several times before.