HOULTON, Maine — Town councilors finalized the hiring of the newest chief of the Houlton Police Department on Monday evening while also agreeing to pay $20,000 to resolve a personnel issue with a former police officer.
During the more-than-hourlong meeting, councilors spent 15 minutes in executive session discussing the offer of probationary employment for Timothy Deluca, who will become the new chief starting on Jan. 3.
Deluca, who will live in town, will take over a post that has been vacant since early August, when Terry Joe McKenna resigned after a year and seven months in the position, citing an inability to work with the town manager.
After coming out of executive session, Town Manager Butch Asselin announced that Deluca will receive a salary of $73,000 a year plus health insurance. This salary is slightly higher than that of McKenna, who started at $65,000 plus benefits.
Deluca has 32 years experience with the Old Orchard Beach Police Department, most recently as deputy police chief. He has ties to Aroostook County, as he has a camp in Oakfield.
In other business, councilors voted unanimously to transfer $20,000 from the town’s surplus account to resolve a personnel matter involving former police officer Eric Crouse.
Asselin said prior to the council meeting that the matter involving Crouse occurred in 2015 when former police chief McKenna was employed at the department. The town manager said he could not elaborate because of confidentiality laws surrounding personnel matters.
Town Attorney Dan Nelson also said he could not provide information about the case. He said the municipality chose not to pursue the issue in court because “it is expensive to litigate.”
In addition to the settlement amount, councilors approved the transfer of $23,877 from the surplus account for the legal costs associated with the resolution of the case. Asselin said the total cost would bring the town’s surplus fund balance to approximately $1.2 million.