PARIS — The Board of Selectmen appointed former Selectman Vic Hodgkins as town manager at its meeting Monday night but not before Selectman Chris Summers voiced objections.

Hodgkins will begin as town manager on Sept. 6 with a starting salary of $65,000, according to his contract.

Chairman Mike Risica read Hodgkins’ resignation letter at the beginning of the meeting.

“It has been a pleasure to serve all of the citizens of Paris,” Risica read. “I look forward to life’s new challenges.”

Selectmen then accepted Hodgkins’ resignation 4-0 as he sat in the audience.

After the motion to appoint Hodgkins as town manager was seconded for discussion, Selectman Scott Buffington issued an apology.

“I would like to apologize for some information that was leaked to the press after our executive session last Monday night,” Buffington said. “I was surprised to see things we had in our confidential session in the Advertiser Democrat. Though I am supportive of appointing Vic as the next town manager, I think it’s important that we address this. … We want the right information to come out and whatever happened to that in our session, I think we need to investigate that.”

He wanted to make a motion to investigate the matter and Selectman Janet Jamison suggested holding a workshop to discuss the issue. Selectmen set the workshop for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Town Office, 33 Market Square.

During open session, former Selectman Robert Wessels thanked Buffington for his comments.

“I read the newspaper article and I thought, ‘Wow, they told the paper a lot.’ I was certainly concerned with that and agree with you … and say loose lips from that board, coming out of executive sessions, has the potential to cost us as taxpayers untold amounts of money,” Wessels said.

“On the positive side, congratulations,” he said. “Thank you for hiring us a town manager; it has been seven months or so. I am very happy with the choice you guys made. I think what he doesn’t bring to the table is a vast amount of town manager experience, but you can teach that. The character qualities he does bring, you can’t teach.”

Selectmen approved Hodgkins’ appointment as town manager 3-0-1, with Summers abstaining.

“I don’t feel like I have enough information to make a rational choice in this matter,” Summers said.

During discussion regarding signing Hodgkins’ contract, Summers voiced his concerns about the document.

“I would like to see the contract reviewed by legal parties prior to signing,” he said. “I think we owe it to the town of Paris to make sure we’re not signing something that can become a liability.”

Risica said he was satisfied with the contract. He noted that it was based on previous contracts and he didn’t want to hold up the process if there are three people on the board who are OK with the document.

“We spent a lot of money on a town manager search and a lot of it went right down the drain,” he said. “I am not happy about it.”

He then referenced Article 16, which was approved by voters at the June town meeting.

It reads, “Article 16. To see if the Town will authorize the Selectmen, on behalf of the Town, to enter into any contract for goods, services, personnel or equipment previously funded by the Town, for no more than five years.”

The search for a new town manager began in December 2015 when Town Manager Amy Bernard left Paris to become the town administrator in Newry. Later that month, selectmen hired Sawin Millet of Waterford to serve as interim town manager until the June town meeting. Current Interim Town Manager Bill Guidon began serving in that capacity on June 21.

Selectmen went through three rounds of candidates for the top administrator position. During the second round, the board offered a finalist from Virginia job, which he accepted and later rescinded after his family decided to remain in the state.

After the meeting, Hodgkins gave a brief comment on becoming the new town manager.

“I’m excited at the opportunity and I will work hard every day to make the town of Paris a better place to live, work and play,” he said.

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