FARMINGTON — With a vote of 4-1, selectmen agreed to allow Wastewater Superintendent Steve Moore to continue working part time under a new superintendent when he retires in July.

Selectman Andrew Hufnagel opposed the idea that allows Moore to work three days a week, buy health insurance through the town and be paid $10,080 a year.

“When does the town stop offering part-time positions to department heads who want to return and stay for health benefits?” Hufnagel asked. He said his opposition was not against Moore personally.

He was not in favor of a new line item for a part-time worker in the budget and questioned the fairness to have Moore there under a new manager. 

Moore said he had no “intention to step on anyone’s feet nor to take over,” but suggested with his knowledge gained after more than 40 years with the department, he could help the new superintendent settle in and act as a hands-on resource for him.

“Steve is a person who can step back and has the personality to make it work,” Town Manager Richard Davis said. He referred to a time when Moore was superintendent then became a laborer under another person.

The part-time help is needed at the plant, Davis said. During inspections, the state Department of Environmental Protection said the department is understaffed. There should be at least five people working at the plant.

Moore thinks he can be the fourth man and help fill the gap when an operator needs help instead of taking the superintendent from his duties. He would also provide mowing, painting and help with an extra day of dewatering, which  is now done twice a week but should be done three times, he said.

Audience member Tom Eastler told the board his classes at the University of Maine at Farmington visit the plant and are astounded that only four people handle all the wastewater for the town.

“Moore is a leader who leads by example, not edict,” Eastler said. He endorsed Moore’s ability to help create a seamless transition for a new superintendent and to be a reference in case of an emergency.

Moore turns 62 in July and will receive an hourly wage after July 22. He will purchase health insurance from the town until he can receive other coverage at age 65.

The board agreed to start advertising for a new wastewater superintendent.

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