NEW GLOUCESTER — At an emergency meeting on Thursday, New Gloucester selectmen grappled with a severance package for former bookkeeper Sandra Sacco.

The board also brainstormed a transition plan to replace retiring Town Manager Sumner Field III after his departure on January 2.

The board approved offering four weeks of gross pay to bookkeeper Sandra Sacco by a 3-to-2 vote. Sacco resigned in late November after learning that her position would be cut to half-time without benefits on January 3.

The package, if accepted by Sacco, requires that she agree not to take legal action against the town.

Selectman Josh McHenry made two failed attempts to offer severance packages to Sacco. The packages offered one or two weeks of pay for every year of her 25-year employment.

The board has no policy for employee severance plans at this time.


When Sacco had resigned from her post, she stated that the work environment had become hostile after her position was slated to be reduced to part-time hours without benefits in 2014.

The full-time bookkeeper position was reinstated in mid-December, when the board reversed a decision to hire an interim finance director and cut the bookkeeper post to half-time.

However, Sacco’s resignation in late November under Town Manager Sumner Field III, who hires employees, is not under board jurisdiction. The board only has authority over the town manager’s post.

Dec. 26 was the last day that job candidates were able to apply for the position.

Sacco was told that she would have to apply if she wanted to be considered.

Selectmen then approved retaining Field as town manager until February 14 by a 3-2 vote.


The vote followed 2½ hours of deliberations over plans to govern the town if Town Manager Sumner Field III retired as planned on January 2.

One plan included naming Town Planner Paul First as interim town manager and hiring Field for financial duties at 20 hours per week without benefits, prorated against a portion of his current salary, which Field refused to accept.

Another motion offered Field his current wages and full benefits under a 20-hour-per-week contract until the end of this fiscal year. The motion, however, failed to pass.

Approving the final vote to keep Field at his post were Selectmen Steven Libby, Nat Berry and Linda Chase. Opposing were Selectmen Josh McHenry and Mark Stevens.

Field tendered his retirement resignation letter to the board in mid October, stating he would retire on January 2. He said he would help, if needed, during the interim transition with a new town manager.

The board is completing a first round of town manager candidate interviews. Chairman Steve Libby said he guessed a successful candidate would be named no earlier than February 1.

The board received 64 applicants from 22 states and four countries in the town manager search under contract with Maine Municipal Association.

The board has been under attack by residents since early November, when an executive session meeting was held with the town attorney following action to cut the bookkeeper’s post to half-time without benefits. Sacco was not present for that meeting.

Residents took the board to task over the 25-year veteran bookkeeper’s job and told the town manager to resign along with three selectmen, Steve Libby, Nat Berry and Linda Chase. The Sun Journal filed a Freedom of Access Act request for the memo that sparked the executive session meeting and certificates showing that town officials were up to date in Freedom of Access Act training.

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