MILLINOCKET, Maine — Police Chief Donald Bolduc’s resignation might lead to a consolidation of Katahdin region police departments, Town Manager Peggy Daigle said Friday.
The town’s top cop for almost 9½ years, Bolduc tendered a resignation letter on Wednesday. He will join the Skowhegan Police Department as a patrolman, Daigle said.
“I am sorry to see him go. I think he has put in a good number of years in the Town of Millinocket and served the town well,” Daigle said Friday.
Bolduc’s last day will be Oct. 4. Bolduc and Town Council Chairman John Davis did not return messages on Friday.
In the letter, which is dated Tuesday, Bolduc said he wanted to stay with Millinocket police as a reserve officer within the eight-member department and with the Millinocket Fire Department as an emergency medical technician and on-call firefighter.
Daigle said the Town Council will discuss at its meeting Thursday options created by Bolduc’s resignation — replacing him as police chief, appointing Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte as chief of both departments or consolidating with another department, most likely East Millinocket’s.
“I have to do what is in the best interests of the town and its public services and make sure that what we do is cost-effective,” Daigle said.
Clint Linscott, chairman of East Millinocket’s Board of Selectmen, was receptive to consolidation.
“I am open to talking to them,” Linscott said Friday, “but we have a police chief who works a regular shift, and I cannot see how he can run three towns’ [police coverage] if we keep things the way they are.”
Patrolman Cameron McDunnah was promoted to East Millinocket’s police chief in July 2012. Besides overseeing the coverage of East Millinocket and Medway, which contracts with East Millinocket for police coverage, McDunnah works full time as a patrolman, as does Sgt. David Cram. The department employs three full-time police and several part-timers.
Another option: contracting for police coverage with state police or the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriffs and state police cover several towns, share coverage of unincorporated areas and assist town police departments and each other as often as possible.
Medway’s relationship with East Millinocket has occasionally been rocky. Medway’s Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 in March 2012 to give East Millinocket 60-day notice that Medway would not accept an East Millinocket proposal to provide police coverage for $110,000 annually.
Medway selectmen said they considered contracting with sheriffs or state police because they felt their patrol needs were not being met. They eventually agreed to retain East Millinocket.
The three towns share recreational services and have a regional economic development committee, but have separate recycling centers, public works departments and municipal offices. East Millinocket and Medway schools are part of AOS 66. Millinocket has its own school department.
Linscott said selectmen might discuss police consolidation at their meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, if Millinocket seeks that option. Selectmen also hope to meet with Millinocket officials to discuss both towns’ finances. No date has been set, he said.
During the last several years, both towns have cut positions, reduced town office hours and battled with their school officials over budgets to keep property taxes down. The area’s sharply declining population and a regional unemployment rate almost twice the state average have caused an economic malaise in the Katahdin region, officials said.
Both towns’ school boards have met to discuss consolidation, but talks have been largely acrimonious. Town officials have also agreed to talk consolidation, but no meetings have been set.
“I think with a change like this [Bolduc’s retirement], it is good to look at our strategic thinking,” Daigle said.