Experience pushed Barrett over the top for city administrator job

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.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston acting City Administrator Phil Nadeau, left, chats with newly hired City Administrator Ed Barrett prior to the start of the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Ed Barrett is Lewiston's new city administrator.

"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
job.

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.

Contract details

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."

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Keith Dutton's picture

"Putting in your time"

"Putting in your time" doesn't cut it anymore.... hasn't for years. And council didn't "kick him in the teeth." He was equally considered, and the better suited candidate got the job. Take your emotions out of the decision and you'll see it.

 's picture

I'm glad the SJ got details

I'm glad the SJ got details about the contract, that was woefully missing from last nights meeting. No one had a chance to review or comment on it. I can imagine the betrayal felt by Mr. Nadeau. Ten years on the job isn't considered enough experience. Once again he snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

 's picture

Well at the very least we

Well at the very least we now know the new direction you've craved for this city, down the tubes. Congratulations, your legacy will haunt this city for years.

 's picture

Ah bobby, I don't have the

Ah bobby, I don't have the super inflated ego that needs stroking. To you a horrible legacy is preferred to none. sad

 's picture

IF you'd ever bother reading

IF you'd ever bother reading what I posted, you'd know that I was complaining about the process not the candidate.

 's picture

Both of your post points to

Both of your post points to the process. From your hero if you put lipstick on the council it smears.

Robert Hack Jr.'s picture

ok here we go again. New

ok here we go again. New manager is starting out with more then the last one ($$$$$$). And we are told its less. 110,000 is less then 116,000. Wow thats a good average salary seeing how we have a high unemployment rate and the average salary in Maine is no where near that amount per yr. Do you people think the tax payers of Lewiston are that stupid, it seems so. We might not be the sharpest pencil in the box but we can add and subtract. If i get a job they tell me when to start not pay for my moving all the way from Bangor, But oh yea this is Lewiston rules are different. Het wake up and smell the coffee the idea is to save money not blow it, or here is a idea lower the tax rates, I sure hope this one doesn't come up with any new taxes like the last city manager we can't afford any more.

Keith Dutton's picture

With all due respect, you

With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about.

1. The total compensation package for your new city manager is less than the previous one. Add everything up, and it's less.
2. Unemployment rates and average salaries for all workers in Maine has nothing to do with what this position is worth. It's worth is determined by the skills needed to do the job. His salary and benefits are reflective of the market for city managers.
3. Paying for relocation expenses is the norm for executive and senior management positions. It's part of the recruitment process.

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