CASCO — Town Manager Dave Morton will retire in June after 41 years on the job, and one neighbor says replacing him will be like “trying to replace Bill Belichick.”

Morton was 22 when he became town manager. His youth wasn’t an issue, he said, but added, “My first select board did tell me not to tell anybody how old I was.”

The community was very welcoming, Morton said, and he loved how the residents of Casco helped each other. He remembers an elderly woman who was ill and whose home burned in a fire.

“The town got together and built her a house. Hancock Lumber donated materials. Skilled folks — plumbers, electricians, carpenters — all got together,” he said.

Morton also serves as Casco’s road commissioner. When he first started working in town, his duties were more far-reaching.

“I actually vacuumed and cleaned up the office at the end of the day, and if there were dead animals in the road, I had to go out and pick those up,” he said.

Over the years, Morton has witnessed a variety of changes. The town, with a population of 3,902, now has a recycling facility and a household waste transfer station, but in his early days as manager it had a burning dump.

And, “when I first started, all the work was done on a white Underwood typewriter on the table,” he said.

Morton said one of his favorite aspects of the job is the people he has worked with, and he spoke highly of the select board.

“They’re very positive, they like to focus on getting things done in the community and they disagree well,” Morton said. “They’re not afraid to speak in opposition to something, and they may speak very strongly in discussions about any particular topic, but once that’s over, they move on to the next item.” 

Select board Chairwoman Holly Hancock praised Morton, as well.

“He’s very concerned about the people in Casco and wants to do what’s right for them. He’s been a great manager for the town,” she said.

Residents feel the same way.

“The town is really going to miss Dave. It’s like trying to replace Bill Belichick,” said Morton’s neighbor, Larry Dyer.

“He just has a really nice demeanor about himself, and he’s very involved in our community,” said another neighbor, Phil Libby. “The good thing that will come out of Dave’s retirement is we’ll probably see more of him in our neighborhood.”

Resident Steve Matza said, “He’s a gentleman. He’s never had a bad thing to say about anybody. He’s humorous, he’s funny. He’s just an all-around great guy.”

Morton was born in Gorham, grew up in Windham, and lived in Windham when he and his wife were first married. The Mortons moved to Casco in 1978.

“I’ve never gone very far. I don’t think I’d live anywhere but Maine,” he said.

He has been considering retiring for a few years and, after discussions with his wife, felt it was a good time.

“I have a great staff. All the folks here know their job, they do it well. It’s a great select board. I can leave comfortably knowing things will go well,” he said.

Morton’s 41-year streak in Casco is the second-longest of all members of the Maine Town, City and County Management Association. The town manager of Monmouth has been in his position for 42 years.

Morton said he has enjoyed his years in Casco. “When I get up in the morning, I look forward to going to work.”

But, he added, he is “looking forward to retirement and planning a new next step in life.”

Casco Town Manager Dave Morton will be retiring in June 2019 and as a sportsman, he looks forward to spending more time outdoors. (Jane Vaughan/The Forecaster)


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