LEWISTON — Newly appointed City Administrator Ed Barrett spent Wednesday getting to know his staff, local journalists and city councilors.
Barrett began the day with a meeting with city staff department heads. That was followed by a late-morning news conference and lunch with Mayor Larry Gilbert and Tom and Nelson Peters, brothers who serve on the City Council.
"I now have something to do," Barrett said. "I now have to come back and prove to everyone I can accomplish all the great things they think I can."
Councilors voted unanimously Tuesday night to hire Barrett. He's scheduled to begin working for the city on Jan. 11, and will receive a $110,000 per year salary for the first six months on the job. After six months, his salary will increase to $116,000. Barrett replaces Jim Bennett, whom councilors voted to oust in July.
Barrett said he's eager to get started in Lewiston. He spent nearly 22 years on the job in Bangor and lists major revitalization of that city's downtown and riverfront among his top accomplishments.
That kind of revitalization is one of his goals here, as well.
"Lewiston has a long history as a very dense community built around a strong urban core," he said Wednesday. "I think we need to make sure that core remains the heart of the city and beats strongly going into the future."
He praised city staff and elected officials for managing the city and investing in Lewiston's future.
"At the same time, we know there are major challenges and opportunities that still confront us," Barrett said. He pledged to continue working with officials from Auburn and other towns to bring jobs and income to the area.
"While there are a lot of things that are very comparable between the city of Lewiston and the city of Bangor, there is a lot that is different," he said. "I need to learn those differences and I need to learn from people what they see as this community's goals, priorities and needs."