BUCKSPORT, Maine — Town councilors on Thursday approved a three-year contract for Town Manager Michael Brennan, who just completed a six-month probationary period.
The Illinois native said Monday he hoped the vote of confidence is the beginning of a long career in Bucksport.
“I really like it here,” Brennan said. “Everyone has been great to work with and very supportive. I’m looking forward to a long, long stay here.”
The manager’s $77,000 salary will bump up to $80,000 on Jan. 1. He receives the same benefits package as all other town employees, but also receives a $4,000 allowance for a car, work-related travel, professional dues and other expenses.
Brennan replaced 27-year Town Manager Roger Raymond in March. Before moving to Bucksport, he was the executive of the town of Bancroft, Iowa. He holds a doctoral degree in public administration from the University of Louisville. Raymond has since taken a job as town manager of Hermon.
Bucksport Mayor David Keene said Brennan’s managerial style differed from Raymond’s. Brennan is a collaborative executive, he said, whereas Raymond was a director.
“(Brennan) likes to make decisions by getting input from as many people as possible,” Keene said. “He still makes the tough decision, but he likes to really listen to all sides of an argument.”
Keene said Brennan’s style is different than Raymond’s, but that doesn’t mean one was better than the other.
“The style is different, but I think we’ll get the same results,” he said. “The town will stay fiscally sound and keep moving forward.”
The council on Thursday also agreed to sign on as a recipient of the 2014 Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. The symposium partners world-renowned sculptors with towns and public institutions to install one-of-a-kind public artwork crafted from Maine granite.
This year, the symposium partnered with the municipalities of Bangor, Orono and Old Town, as well as the University of Maine and Acadia Hospital.
The council unanimously agreed to sign on as a sculpture recipient, but declined to use taxpayer dollars to fund the town’s roughly $12,000 portion of the sculpture’s $40,000 price tag. Instead, said Economic Development Director David Milan, a committee will work to raise the funds privately.
“There are folks in town willing to serve on a committee to raise the local funds,” Milan said. “In the last ten years, I’m not sure I’ve seen any project like this that has garnered more private support.”
The town will choose a yet-unnamed sculptor from the 2014 symposium, Milan said, but that’s the extent of the creative control the town will have over the final product the town receives.
“The big question was how much say we have in what the sculpture looks like,” he said. “The answer is: We have a lot of say in the choice of the artist. So we’ll pick on that we like the work they do, and whatever they create will be consistent with that style.”
Milan said the sculpture will likely be placed on the town’s Waterfront Walkway park.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.