Manager offers to be part-time road commissioner

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — A proposal by the current Casco town manager to serve as a part-time road commissioner after he retires was made public on Tuesday.

It is just food for thought, an arrangement that could work well if the Casco Board of Selectmen decided to do away with the road commissioner duties in the job description for the new town manager.

Nothing has been decided yet. After all, the selectmen haven’t even seen the resumes from potential candidates for the job that Morton will retire from in June.

Toward the end of the meeting on Tuesday night, during selectmen’s comments on the agenda, Selectman Mary Fernandes read a proposal written by Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

Basically, Morton offered to work part-time as the road commissioner, putting to use his knowledge of road construction and contractors and his familiarity with the roads in Casco while unburdening a new town manager from those duties and responsibilities.

If the board accepts the offer, a new position would be created at the town level.

Selectman Calvin Nutting spoke in opposition to the idea.

“Just to play the devil’s advocate, if we head with that, the new town manager’s salary would be adjusted accordingly,” he said.

“I am not Gung-ho about going out and creating another position,” he said, adding the taxpayers won’t be either.

“We need to have some idea of where we are headed before traveling down that road,” Nutting said.

Selectman Thomas Peaslee said he agreed with Nutting that more information is needed first.

“David, in that proposal, was there a cost associated with the job?” Peaslee asked.

The answer: Between $27,000 and $30,000 that Morton proposed be included in the highway budget.

“I made that proposal because the board spoke about the difficulty of a new town manager coming into the position and doing both jobs,” Morton said. “I offered this to put it out there.”

“As I retire from the role of town manager, I will be looking to do something a couple times a week,” he said.

He said his presence would not distract from the new town manager settling in.

“In no way am I going to be front and center. The road commissioner would be the person behind the scenes working for the town manager, relieving the new town manager of road commissioner responsibilities,” Morton said.

“Calvin, you are right: All the decisions will be made by the board,” Morton said later in the discussion.

“Again, my reason for throwing that on the table, it [a solution for the road commissioner duties] was expressed by the board. I offered,” he said. “I don’t want to be self-serving. I was offering to be helpful.”

Nutting said he did not think it was fiscally wise to “create a new positon in the town of Casco on top of whatever the salary is for new town manager.”

Morton repeated, “This is an option and it is up to the board.”

Selectman Peaslee said there are too many unknown factors to make a decision.

“Until we really delve into this and see what new town manager might have, we don’t know. If we have a town manager who has experience, or we may find no one has those skills,” Peaslee said.

“It is good information to have, okay,” he said.

Fernandes said why she had read the proposal in a public forum that evening.

“I didn’t want us to go into executive session and then come out and say, ‘Guess what? We have a new position,’ ” she said.

“I wanted to transparent — that is why I was upfront,” she said.

“Let’s get the conversation going,” Fernandes said.

Originally on Tuesday, the selectmen had anticipated that they would receive the packet of resumes to know the job skills of the applicants. But, those did not arrive via overnight delivery. Currently, the board will meet in executive session this upcoming Tuesday to discuss the candidates.

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