MILLINOCKET, Maine — Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte will resign effective Dec. 6, possibly to pursue private consulting opportunities, Town Manager Peggy Daigle said Tuesday.
“I am disappointed that he is leaving but I want to wish him well in whatever he wants to do,” Daigle said.
Hired in September 2012, the 33-year-old Turcotte submitted a resignation letter Oct. 30 in which private consulting work was among the options mentioned, Daigle said.
Turcotte said he could not immediately comment. His resignation letter provides a cloudy picture of why he resigned.
“While I greatly appreciated most of my time with the Town of Millinocket, recent changes in departmental organization and management have made me feel unable to continue working for the [town] in my current capacity.” Turcotte wrote in the letter.
It was unclear whether the changes Turcotte referred to were his implementation of 24-hour scheduling in the department or something else. He did, however, refer to “working well over 70 to 80 hours per week” to ensure adequate department staffing and listed several improvements to department service during his tenure.
“I have taken valuable time away from my family and it is now time for me to provide them with that time and to focus on my health and well-being,” Turcotte wrote.
Turcotte is the second Millinocket department head to resign his position recently. Police Chief Donald Bolduc resigned in September to take a patrolman’s position in Skowhegan.
Daigle said she hoped the town’s somewhat shaky financial situation wasn’t contributing to workers’ decisions to leave.
During the summer, town leaders mailed tax bills and set a tax rate early to offset a cash flow shortage of several hundred thousand dollars. Their work has improved the situation greatly, Daigle said.
The town’s auditor is finishing his annual audit and finding good news on the town side of the budget, Daigle said, but the Katahdin region suffers still from declining population and state aid.
“People have to think strategically about where they want to be [financially] and how to get to that point,” Daigle said, “but it’s not been a secret that Millinocket has been going through some tough times.”
Daigle said she hopes to hire a replacement in December if that replacement comes from within the Fire Department. It will take longer if it is an outsider, she said.
Turcotte draws a $55,000 salary to manage the Fire Department’s $240,264 budget and its ambulance service’s $276,649 budget. He oversees a total of seven full-time firefighters and emergency medical technicians and 32 on-call personnel.