Old Town to hire firm to find new manager

Posted July 25, 2011, at 10:10 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — The City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to hire a Maine-based firm to search for the city’s next manager.

Eaton Peabody Consulting Group will meet with the council to see what it’s looking for in its next manager before sifting through applicants and making a recommendation to councilors.

The search services will cost about $4,500, plus fees, according to City Council Chairman David Mahan.

“They indicated that it would be a month or two-month process,” Mahan said.

The council also considered hiring the Maine Municipal Association, but members leaned toward Eaton Peabody as a better fit for Old Town’s needs.

“I think we need to have someone who’s going to be available and attentive and doesn’t have four searches going on at the same time,” Councilor Alan Stormann said.

Mahan said he talked to officials in Orono, which hired Eaton Peabody to conduct its search for its new manager, Sophia Wilson. He said the firm received glowing reviews.

Former Old Town City Manager Peggy Daigle resigned in May after a brief special meeting, one day after she was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons. Assistant City Manager William Mayo has been serving in an interim role.

In other business, the council rejected in a 5-2 vote an RSU 34 request to waive a $13,000 building fee for construction planned at Old Town High School.

In February, voters approved a $5.3 million project to build a new science and art wing at the school.

“We were hoping to waive the building permit fees to use to offset other expenses at the end of the project,” said Dave Walker, RSU 34 superintendent. He said he hoped the school could use the money saved to purchase furniture and supplies for the wing after construction costs wind down.

“We’re not in a position to waive fees anymore,” said Councilor Jamie Dufour. “It’s just the reality that we’re in.”

Several councilors said it would be risky to waive fees, given the tough economic times, and some worried more entities would follow suit and ask the town to drop fees for them.

“I know it’s a slippery slope,” Mahan said, “and if we do it everyone’s going to come our way for the same thing.”

To close the meeting, the council voted unanimously to accept a $137,750 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to update the master plan and determine future upgrades at Dewitt Field, the town’s airport and seaplane base.

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