HOULTON, Maine — During a brief meeting on Monday evening, town councilors accepted the resignation of Gene Conlogue, who has served as town manager for a year and a half, and appointed the town’s police chief to serve as the interim town manager.
Conlogue’s resignation is effective immediately. He did not attend the meeting. Police Chief Butch Asselin was chosen for the position because he has experience as an interim town manager, according to councilors.
Conlogue wrote a letter of resignation to the council that was dated April 14. In the brief letter, he said that it was a “dream come true” to have served the Houlton community, but that he had met with the council chair and vice chair last week. During that meeting, he wrote, they had expressed dissatisfaction with his performance, and it became clear to him that he didn’t have the confidence of the council to continue in the position.
Conlogue spent 13 years as Millinocket’s town manager, and he was hired in Houlton after Doug Hazlett resigned the position after seven years for private sector employment. Conlogue’s hiring at an annual salary of $80,138 with no time restrictions written into the contract came in Sept. 2012.
Council Chairman Paul Cleary said on Monday evening that he wished Conlogue well and that they would start the search for a new town manager immediately. He told councilors that he felt that the next town manager should definitely live in Houlton in order to be available in case of an emergency and to pay the same tax rate as people in Houlton. The past three town managers had homes in other communities and only lived in Houlton part time. Former town manager Peggy Daigle lived in Millinocket, Hazlett lived in New Limerick, and Conlogue had a home in Presque Isle.
Councilors voted 5-0 to accept Conlogue’s resignation, with only Councilor Dan Peabody absent. They then entered an executive session and returned to vote 5-0 to appoint Asselin as interim town manager.
Asselin will not receive an increase in pay for performing both jobs, according to town officials.
Councilors hope to find a new town manager in three to four months.