A tall steel painted fisherman stands outside the Maine Fair Trade Lobster Company plant in the Gouldsboro village of Prospect Harbor. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Gouldsboro’s town manager has told the board of selectmen she does not intend to renew her contract with the town when it expires at the end of June, which will make her the third town manager in Gouldsboro to step down since 2018.

With her departure, Andrea Sirois will have served as Gouldsboro’s town manager for one year.

Sirois said she has decided to seek employment elsewhere so she can be closer to family and friends. A native of Nevada, Sirois has lived most recently in Arizona but also has lived in California, Canada and Australia.

Sirois said the isolating effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, along with developments in her personal life this past year made her decide to move. She either wants to be near her family or close friends who live out West, she said. She said her parents live in Louisiana and she has sisters who live in Alaska and Washington, D.C.

“I really have enjoyed working for the community,” she said, adding that many people have made her feel welcome. She said she will miss Maine’s scenery and that she is especially grateful to former town manager Eve Wilkinson, who helped orient Sirois to her job when she started last summer.

“It’s very different from the desert that I am used to,” she said of Maine’s coastline.

Sirois said the town will use the Maine Municipal Association to search for a new town manager. In the meantime, the board of selectmen have given Sirois permission to look for a new job before her contract expires this summer.

According to the Ellsworth American weekly newspaper, Sirois has a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arizona and has prior experience working for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, and for the Arizona towns of Marana and Oro Valley.

Sirois succeeded Sherri Dowling Tracey, whose last name at the time was Cox, who served as town manager for about 18 months until she resigned in August 2019. Tracey had taken over the position from Bryan Kaenrath, who served as Gouldsboro’s town manager from 2015 through early 2018.

Wilkinson, who lives in Gouldsboro, served as town manager from 2007 to 2015 and returned to the town office on an interim basis after Tracey left and before Sirois started.

Sirois, who began as town manager in June 2020, had told selectmen last November that she intended to resign, but then changed her mind after discussing the matter with the board, the American has reported. To get her to stay, selectmen agreed to hire extra part-time help at the town office to assist Sirois with bookkeeping, according to the newspaper.

The turnover in recent years in Gouldsboro’s town manager position mirrors a pattern with the town’s police chiefs. Paul Gamble served as the town’s police chief for less than a year, from June 2015 to February 2016, prior to Tyler Dunbar holding the job from April 2016 through June 2019.

However, unlike recent town managers, Gamble and Dunbar left after publicly feuding with town officials. Gamble was fired and later reached a legal settlement after suing the town, while Dunbar resigned because of what he described as “a clear lack of political support for the police department from the town government.”

John Shively, the town’s current chief, has held the position since October 2019. In recent months, Shively has been accused of sexual harassment and of mismanaging the police department, which has only three officers, and Sirois has been criticized for how she has handled the complaints agains Shively.

Bill Trotter

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....