DIXFIELD — Selectmen unanimously voted Monday night to allow the Dixfield Public Works Department to begin running advertisements for reserve drivers during the winter season.
Public Works Foreman Dave Phair brought his concerns to the board after explaining that the last couple of storms have been difficult due to several drivers undergoing surgeries and becoming sick at the same time.
“We had a rough patch,” Phair said. “We’re looking to make a list of four to six alternate drivers that we could draw from if our regular drivers are sick or if we have too many tired drivers.”
According to the board, town policy states that when recruiting alternate drivers, the Public Works Department must advertise the position to the public to give everybody a chance to be hired for the position.
“It’s a fairness test of sorts,” Phair said. “The town policy is set up that way to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to get the position.”
The board told Phair that any drivers selected as alternates would need to submit their licenses to the town’s insurance company and make sure they’re insurable to the town’s standards.
Selectman Scott Belskis suggested to the board that it check the legality of hiring drivers who are already town employees, since there may be a conflict of interest.
Selectman Bob Withrow said that posting advertisements sounded good to him and that “it’s just a matter of going about it correctly.”
In other business, police Chief Richard Pickett requested that the board consider granting the Dixfield Police Department the ability to make state-wide arrests. Pickett said that sometimes, Dixfield Police respond to scenes of domestic violence or car accidents in other towns, such as Carthage, Canton or Peru, but must wait until the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department or the state police arrive to make an arrest.
“There’s a lot of municipalities doing this now,” Pickett said. “We’d be allowed to respond to a scene and make the arrest.” He also said that Dixfield Police wouldn’t be patrolling in other towns, but simply performing their law enforcement duties as requested.
The board also unanimously voted to allow the Maine Department of Transportation to do construction work on the Route 2 sidewalks during the upcoming summer.
“We’ve already tentatively given MDOT our blessing to move onward with the project,” said Chairman Mac Gill, “but this vote will make it official.”
The Maine Department of Transportation will also be paving Route 2 during the same time this summer.