VEAZIE, Maine — Town Manager Joseph Hayes tendered his resignation Monday night after an executive session held to discuss an unspecified personnel matter.
Hayes, who previously served as Stockton Springs’ manager, was hired as Veazie’s manager a year ago.
Hayes’ resignation, effective on Jan. 31, was accepted in a 3-2 vote, with Councilors Joseph Friedman, Jon Parker and Christopher Bagley voting in favor and Council Chairman Tammy Olson and Councilor Brian Perkins voting against.
Town councilors then voted 5-0 to appoint Police Chief Mark Leonard interim town manager.
Hayes declined Tuesday to say what prompted him to resign.
“I can’t say,” he said, adding that he had no further comment on the matter.
Parker, the only town councilor who could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon and early evening, confirmed that the executive session was held to conduct Hayes’ annual performance review.
After the councilors returned to open session, Parker said, Hayes “stated that due to his poor review he was tendering his resignation.”
On Tuesday, Hayes said he plans to spend the time between now and his departure getting the annual budget development process under way and meeting with department heads.
Hayes, who is 58, did confirm that he had one year left on his two-year contract, which does not expire until Dec. 31.
Hayes said he did not have any immediate employment plans.
“I’ll be looking for work,” he said.
Information about a severance deal was not immediately available Tuesday morning.
A signed copy of Hayes’ employment agreement was among the documents contained in the council’s Dec. 19, 2011, agenda package.
According to the document, dated Dec. 5, 2011, Hayes’ starting annual gross salary was set at $50,000. The contract also provided for accrued vacation time, group health and dental benefits or a fixed financial contribution in lieu of those benefits.
Hayes also was provided life insurance equal to his annual salary, disability benefits based on 70 percent of his yearly pay and an allowance for use of his own vehicle for town business, reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and the use of a cellphone.
The council waived the residency requirement for the term of the agreement.
The agreement also allowed Hayes to resign “at any time from his position with the Town. Provided, however, that in the event of resignation without a prior 60-day notice, the Town Manager shall forfeit accumulated sick leave and vacation.”
Leonard, who has served brief periods as interim manager in the past, accepted the mission.
“I’m excited about it,” Leonard said Tuesday. “I look at it as an opportunity. There are definitely some challenges ahead of us,” he added, citing the need to develop a budget for the next fiscal year and to continue the process of bringing the education of Veazie schoolchildren back under local control.
Leonard said that the council has scheduled a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, to discuss the town manager transition as well as some business connected to the Veazie Sewer District.
Hayes, who also served as town administrator in Lamoine from 1988 to 1992, worked at the Bangor Daily News starting at age 16 in the press room. Later in his newspaper career, he became an assistant to the production manager and then moved to the credit collection department. He left the BDN in 2004.
Hayes’ hiring in Veazie ended a 2½-month search after the council chose not to renew Town Manager Bill Reed’s contract in September 2011.
After Reed left, the town hired Larry Varisco, a retired Holden town manager, to temporarily fill the role on a part-time basis while the search was under way. Varisco had been working two or three days per week handling the town manager’s duties.