Dixfield seeking new town manager

DIXFIELD — Selectmen authorized Chairman Malcolm Gill to enter into a contract with the Maine Municipal Association to help find a new town manager.

Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky submitted his resignation last month, effective in early January.

Gill was authorized to negotiate with the MMA for their assistance in the nine-step process of finding a candidate. The cost is expected to be $4,900. He will use the duties as outlined for Skibitsky.

The MMA will review the applications and forward those that have the proper qualifications to selectmen. Specific attributes sought by the board include experience with budgeting and road construction.

In a related matter, a hiring committee to find a replacement for longtime Deputy Treasurer Charlotte Collins was named to review the 19 applications submitted.

Collins is retiring from her position in early January, following more than 30 years in the Town Office.

Hiring committee members are Skibitsky, Collins, Selectman Scott Belskis and Deputy Town Clerk Vicki Carrier. Interviews are expected to begin in late October, with Dec. 1 as the target date for filling the position.

In other matters Monday, the board awarded the contract for repair of Porter Hill Road to C.H. Stevenson of Wayne for $28,520. The board rejected bids for repair of Holt Hill Road and instead directed the town's Public Works Department to make minor repairs.

The contract for the purchase of a new gas boiler for the fire station was awarded to Community Energy of Rumford for $14,062.

Skibitsky said the completion of the Webb River Bridge replacement project has been extended to Nov. 10, which is about two weeks longer than originally anticipated.

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Comments

Norman Mitchell's picture

MMA

Why would our town listen to the MMA they wouldn't listen to the changes required to the Wind ordnance to make it legal and valid over 90 changes are required according to Avcog and yet two of the selectmen Gill and Withrow signed the warrant with no motion made to do so and put it before the people without a majority of the select boards consent and said they would change the ordnance later to make it valid I was at this meeting this is not the kind of town government I want !! One that would knowingly put before the town what they knew was an invalid Ordnance ! watch the selectmans meeting when it comes out you will see we live in a dictatorship !!

 's picture

19 candidates applied for

19 candidates applied for Deputy Treasurer position with one simple advertisement in the Rumford Falls Times. Why is spending $4900 to solicit the help of an extended government agency needed. Why not let this pack of lawyers (MMA) run the town too.

 's picture

The why should be obvious; as is the why not

The two positions require wildly different skill sets. No one, I believe, in the town office is a trained and qualified hiring manager. A basic tenet of organizational efficiency is not to employ skills you need only rarely and which are not part of your core mission. That's in part why MMA exists - to share rarely needed resources among the municipalities of Maine. It's why Dixfield belongs in RSU #10 and why going it alone is dumb.

 's picture

First of all, someone have

First of all, someone have better have some idea of what is desired of the next town manager. The better choice for this is from someone who resides in town and hears the concerns of the citizens, not a bunch of detached lawyers looking for one of shared sophistication . If, the select board and current town employee staff can not relate to applicants and evaluate if they fit the town's needs, then we are already in trouble.
I agree that splitting off from the RSU is non-productive. I do think the fact that the citizens of Dixfield rejected the proposed school budget voted on last June needs to have more publicity, but a knee-jerk reaction to leave the RSU is a sloppy way to do it.

 's picture

The duties of Town Manager are published

as the story relates. Obviously, the town manager must understand the town, its concerns, and its politics. But since the town manager is very likely going to come from away, those are things he/she will have to learn. Hiring someone from within the town is no quarantee that they will understand the town or its concerns. Now does it. Detached lawyers and I don't know that they are lawyers, do you, can provide the objectivity and experience that can willow down the list to people who can handle the job. Then the board and committee can determine if the remaining candidates meets the towns needs.
No knee-jerk reaction to RSU; I was on the SAD #21 board for 6 years. I saw how local politics lead to a complete lack of control and results in that school district (math and science scores below 20%, teacher passing irrespective of student performance, one passing any girl in class and failing every boy, content of courses so weak in High School that it should have embarassed the district to offer them to elementary students). One newly elected board member said in open session that she ran "to protect the superintendent from the community". Local control does not necessarily mean good.

 's picture

I believe you, and you are

I believe you, and you are not the only one, elevate the position of town manager a lot higher than I do. Most of our departments operate without need of much guidance and that probably exists due to years of doing the same thing over and over. With most of town employees having experience at what they are doing, there really isn't a need to make the position of TM any more than what it is. He is to receive his guidance from the select board who receive their guidance from the town folks. The more you enhance the position, the more you get a power broker who comes to lack respect of the board. If you have access to the local tv station, watch a few select board meetings of recent past and you will see what I mean.
I admit, I have not been, in any manner, involved with the goings on at the school. I am simply a taxpayer wishing to see my taxes and taxes throughout the town go down. If what you say is happening, then it doesn't appear we were getting our money's worth.

 's picture

We weren't when I was on the board

I think the RSU and the Town of Dixfield should find ways that 85% of our students meet or exceed state standards in math and science. I also don't believe it costs money to do that. Children learn to the level that their natural abilities and their respect for their teachers and parents allow. More money enhances neither.
What makes the Town Manager job complex is the changing laws in Augusta and Washington. Otherwide I agree with 90+ percent of what you have written. For example, I was often involved in the school funding issue. Sen. Peter Mills once very accurately stated that there really was only one person in Maine who understood the details of the funding formula and he worked in the Department of Education. A town manager has to understand at least the broad outlines in order to inform the board on the consequences of any changes. You need a two-way relationship between the Town Manager and the board and the Town Manager and the Community. I think Town Managers in the past have been too much; board to the Town Manager to the department heads and too little Town Manager to the Community on issues that affect the town.
I admired your work on Wind Power. I think controlling taxes is a critical responsibility of the informed taxpayer. But I also think its not the only responsiblity of the involved taxpayer. As you have shown.

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