BUCKSPORT — The Town Council voted at a special meeting Tuesday to terminate Town Manager Derik Goodine, prompting one councilor to resign.
Councilors invoked a clause in Goodine’s three-year employment contract that allowed them to fire him without citing a reason.
Goodine, a former town manager in Naples, Maine, was hired for the Bucksport position in April 2014.
“I resigned last week because of this,” said former councilor Byron F. Vinton. “I think it was an unconscionable act on the part of council. I refuse to have my name associated with it.”
Vinton said the council voted 4-2 in favor of firing Goodine. Had he stayed on council, his vote would not have changed the outcome.
Reached Wednesday, councilors David W. Kee and Peter L. Stewart declined to give reasons for the action.
“I’m not going to discuss that,” said Stewart. “There was no reason. It was ‘let go without cause.’”
“We decided to go in a different direction for town manager,” said Kee.
Contacted Wednesday, Goodine confirmed that he was terminated without cause, as his contract allowed. He said his termination was effective immediately but that he will receive six months of severance pay and health insurance, as stipulated by his contract.
“I wish the town well,” Goodine wrote. “We have been through enough this past 11 months [with the closure of the Verso paper mill], but Bucksport will be fine and the future is bright because there are a lot of people in this town that want to see Bucksport thrive!”
According to Kee, Mayor and Council Chairman David G. Keene and Paul Gauvin joined Kee and Stewart in voting to fire Goodine.
Glenn S. Findlay and Joseph N.L. York opposed, Kee said.
Vinton said Goodine had the “plans and foresight” to lead Bucksport, where a paper mill shut down in December and a $13 million wastewater treatment plant is under construction. More than 500 Verso employees lost their jobs at the 84-year-old mill when it shut down last December.
Vinton said the town also has openings for a new finance director and economic development director. That means the three top positions are vacant and will be held by newcomers.
“I don’t care how good you are, you can’t walk into the middle of it and know all of it,” Vinton said.
Goodine’s salary was approximately $82,000 annually, Kee said.