MILLINOCKET, Maine — In what was likely to be his final Town Council meeting, departing Town Manager Eugene Conlogue got a first-class sendoff — from East Millinocket.
Amid the farewells offered Thursday by his own Town Council, Conlogue received a plaque and a resolve from East Millinocket Selectmen Clint Linscott and Mark Marston, Linscott said.
“He was excellent towards anything I ever asked him. Anything I ever needed he always provided,” Linscott said Friday. “He always answered my questions to the best of his knowledge.”
Relations between Millinocket and its smaller neighbor to the east haven’t always been so cordial. East Millinocket and Medway officials got steamed at Millinocket leaders in 2008 when they learned that Millinocket had taken all of a $75,000 payment intended for the Katahdin region from the owners of the East Millinocket and Millinocket mills when the Millinocket mill closed.
Millinocket ended up effectively giving the money back when the three towns formed an economic development committee that promotes regional and local enterprise. Medway officials have supported Roxanne Quimby’s proposed national park, while the two other towns haven’t, and Medway and East Millinocket have shied away from consolidating schools with Millinocket.
Still, Linscott and Marston gave Conlogue the accolades to thank him for his professionalism, tact and dedication to the Katahdin region through his 13 years as Millinocket’s town manager, said Linscott, chairman of East Millinocket’s Board of Selectmen.
Conlogue was crucial to the restart of the East Millinocket paper mill; the regional economic development board, which has channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars into the region’s economy; and the fight against Quimby’s national park, Linscott said.
“Any committee you could think of, he was there, but he didn’t look for any recognition for himself, and anytime I talked to him he would never say anything bad about his councilors,” Linscott said of Conlogue. “I never knew what his true beliefs were on anything because he was always representing his council and its beliefs, not his own.”
Millinocket Town Council Chairman John Davis thought it was classy of the selectmen to give Conlogue such praise. Conlogue leaves Millinocket next week to begin work as Houlton’s town manager. Former state Senate President Charles Pray will replace Conlogue temporarily.
“I think both towns are going to miss Gene. I think the region is going to miss him,” Davis said Friday, “but I don’t see any setback there. We will find somebody to fill Gene’s shoes sooner or later.”
That Conlogue was occasionally controversial is just a reflection of the region itself, Linscott said.
“It is politics,” Linscott said. “You cannot always win.”