LEWISTON — Newly named City Administrator Ed Barrett's 22 years of experience was too good to pass up, City Councilor Robert Reed said Tuesday night.
"He was just too good a candidate," Reed said. "We had two good candidates, but Barrett really stood out."
Other councilors agreed, giving Barrett the edge over acting City Administrator Phil Nadeau.
The council approved and Mayor Larry Gilbert signed an employment
agreement with Barrett on Tuesday night, making him the next Lewiston city administrator.
Reed said he was hopeful that the top two candidates, Barrett and Nadeau, would be able to work together.
"I think that with their skills, they'll make a really dynamic team," Reed said.
Barrett has been involved in Maine local government since
1988, when he left Wichita Falls, Texas, to take the Bangor manager's
City Councilor Denis Theriault called the decision one of the toughest he's had to make.
"On the one hand I have Phil, a Lewiston boy, and someone whose work I know firsthand," Theriault said. "Phil is a top-notch candidate. But on the other, I have someone I know only through his resume and his references."
Theriault said he was convinced the two would work well together. "I don't doubt that they will make an excellent team," he said.
Barrett said he was excited to begin the new job.
"I think Lewiston has done some great things," Barrett told councilors Tuesday. "You've made some really strategic investments that have really made a difference in the community, and I'm really looking forward to working with all of you."
Barrett will be on hand at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the new job. He's scheduled to begin working in Lewiston on Jan. 11.
"There are a lot of people in Bangor that I really love, so that is
the hard part," Barrett said. "But I'm looking forward to Lewiston, so
my first job there is going to be to listen and to learn."
Councilors voted to buy out
Bennett's contract in July and began looking for his replacement right
away. A search committee whittled a stack of resumes down from more than 40 to
three candidates — Nadeau, former Gardiner Town Manager Jeffrey Kobrock
and former Falmouth Manager Doug Harris.
Councilors added Barrett to the list in November and quickly settled
on him and Nadeau as their top choices. They interviewed both men on
Nov. 18, then had city staff verify the candidates' resumes.
The new city administrator will start off where the last one ended, salary-wise .
According to Barrett's employment agreement with the city, he will get a $110,000 salary for the first six months of his employment. At that point, it will increase to $116,000.
Bennett received a $110,000 salary when he was removed by city councilors in July.
Lewiston Human Resources Director Denis Jean said Barrett's contract is less generous with other benefits. That was a reaction to Bennett's contract, which provided a staff car, Internet and phone expenses and a long-term buyout clause.
The new contract lasts for two and a half years, but councilors can terminate the contract with six months notice. Barrett does not receive a car, but gets a $400 per month allowance for vehicular travel, and will be reimbursed for general expenses only.
He will receive $3,000 in relocation expenses and $1,000 per month housing assistance for six months. If he resigns within those six months, he must repay both relocation and housing expenses. He has nine months from signing to establish permanent residency in Lewiston.
According to his agreement with the Bangor City Council, Barrett must give that city two weeks' notice before leaving.
"I haven't decided when I'm going to do that yet," Barrett said. "That's going to be one of the next things I do."