LEWISTON — Calling the coming year a difficult one for municipal budgets, Ed Barrett began his new job leading the city of Lewiston on Monday.

“Because of the economy, because the reductions in governor’s budgets, I think that’s the major issue that’s going to have to be addressed relatively quickly,” Barrett said. “We’re halfway through the fiscal year and we’re seeing some impacts already. Those will just be magnified in the next fiscal year, so we have to get started right now.”

More than 100 people filled the Lewiston City Council chambers and adjoining rooms to watch Barrett take his oath of office and mingle with him afterward. Barrett becomes the city’s fifth top administrator since a new charter was adopted in 1980.

“I guarantee that I will not be perfect, but I will do my best,” Barrett said. 

Assistant City Administrator Phil Nadeau, introducing Barrett to the group, said he was pleased to be working along side him.

“This is a very happy day for many on city staff,” Nadeau said.
“Finally, the uncertainty of it all and the last six months are over.
We have our new city administrator on board this morning.”

Nadeau was the city’s acting administrator, filling in since last July when councilors fired Jim Bennett. Nadeau applied for the job, and he and Barrett were the council’s top two choices.

“Ed has earned the distinction of being one of Maine’s best city managers and town managers,” Nadeau said. The two have worked together on the past, and took turns leading the Maine Service Centers coalition.

“It’s exciting to me to now have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Ed,” he said. “This is going to be both a very exciting time and a very challenging one for the city.”

Barrett said he began his first day on the job getting familiar with City Hall and meeting the staff. He expected that phase of the job to continue for the next week.

“I still have to get out to some of the other places, and I expect to do that over the next two weeks,” he said. “I still have a lot to learn.

Auburn City Manager Glenn Aho said he has a long working relationship with Barrett, dating back to his first days in municipal government in Brewer. Aho later became the town manager at Lincoln, which is just outside Bangor.

“When I first began thinking about taking the job here in Auburn, he was one of the first people I talked to about it,” Aho said. 

Barrett’s hiring will mean good things for further cooperation across the Androscoggin River, Aho said. All four of the Twin Cities top managers — Barrett and Nadeau in Lewiston and Aho and Assistant City Manager Laurie Smith in Auburn — work well together.

“I really like the dynamic we have, with all four of us,” Aho said. “I think we’ll be able to do great things over the next decade.”

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Ed Barrett, the new city administrator of Lewiston, is sworn in by City Clerk Kathy Montejo in council chambers at City Hall on Monday.

Lewiston’s new city administrator, Ed Barrett, right, speaks with Stephanie Lull, center, and Noel Smith, both architects at Smith Reuter and Lull in Lewiston, after being sworn into office on Monday at City Hall.

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