Casco officials get little antsy about town manager search

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The locally-elected selectmen expressed their uneasiness about replacing longtime Casco Town Manager Dave Morton before he retires in June 2019.

The town manager search was a topic on the agenda during the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday.

“We are waiting far too long for the interview process,” Selectmen Calvin Nutting said.

“At first, I heard December. From what I read, it is March. We don’t want to make a decision in a month and a half,” Nutting said.

Plummer specifically addressed the need to find someone to fill the role of road commissioner — a duty that will not be included in the job description of the future Casco town manager.

“Some of this conversation will trigger a town meeting. The one conversation is about public works [functions]. Part of that problem is a financial problem that we are not prepared for in our current budget,” Plummer said.

“The sooner we think this through, the better,” he said. “If it is someone without a lot of experience” the town will be in a situation in which “there is a longer training period for Dave.” Or [if the selectmen hire] someone with more experience, where they high-five each other in the door.”

The selectmen will be using the services of the Maine Municipal Association (MMA), specifically Dave Barrett, who is the director of Personnel Services & Labor Relations.

Morton said that inviting Barrett to a board meeting should help alleviate the selectmen’s worries about the future hiring.

MMA has “been through the process dozens of times.”

Then, Morton assured the board he wouldn’t run out the door with his fishing pole until the new town manager is comfortable with the position.

“I would like to retire in June, but I would never leave the town in a lurch. I would never leave the town hanging,” Morton said.

“I think meeting with Dave Barrett is a great idea. They do these [town manager job searches]. They can help with the timelines and the duties and a separate public works function,” he said.

Chairman Holly Hancock said she would contact Barrett to figure out a Tuesday that would work best for him to discuss the job search with the board.

“From conversations on the phone, he is very informative. It would be good for the rest of the board to be in on that conversation,” Hancock said.

Selectmen Thomas Peaslee spoke.

“That would ease my comfort level,” he said.

“What is the pool for town manager? Is it big or is it small,” Peaslee asked, adding “I think I know the answer to that.”

Nutting said, “Of that pool, how many people do we want?

“Speaking from the experiences of neighboring towns, we don’t want to make the decision in a month and a half,” Nutting said.

Peaslee asked if the position would be advertised only locally in Maine, throughout New England or in publications and online job search sites throughout the United States.

The answer was that the advertisements would expand past the region, but a more complete answer is more likely to come from Barrett.

Hancock ended the agenda item the way she began it, asking the board for input on what it desired from the next town manager.

“By the next meeting [on Sept. 11] if you have ideas, send them to me. Any of the things the town manager should do,” Hancock said.

She suggested putting those on single sheets of paper “so we have some target as to what we are looking for in a town manager.”

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