MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council voted 4-1 Monday morning to dismiss Town Manager Zakk Maher less than year into his four-year contract.

The vote followed a 90-minute executive session, with Chairperson Cathy Fifield, Wayne Hackett, Nick Konstantoulakis and newly elected member John Emery voting in favor. Kieth Bennett opposed the decision.

Fifield and Hackett declined to give specifics for their decision but said Maher was “not a good fit.” Emery agreed.

Konstantoulakis said it was a “difficult decision.”

A year was not enough time to judge Maher’s performance, Bennett said, adding that Maher had some “good ideas.” Bennett said he thought the differences between Maher and the council perhaps could have been handled differently, but didn’t elaborate.

Fifield said the town is not obligated to pay Maher the remaining three years of his contract. He is entitled to 14 weeks of severance pay and can request a public hearing on the merits of the council’s decision.

Maher was hired in August 2018 to succeed Koriene Low.

Before taking the job, he served as Androscoggin County commissioner for District 6, which encompasses Poland, Mechanic Falls and parts of Auburn. He had been vice chairman of the Poland Budget Committee and past chairman of the Poland Community & Economic Development Committee. He had also been affiliated with Community Concepts Maine.

Code Enforcement Officer Fred Collins has agreed to serve as interim town manager.

The council is scheduled to meet in executive session at 9 a.m. Monday, June 24, to begin the search for a manager.

Prior to the executive session, Emery was sworn in as a council member. Fifield was re-elected chairperson and Hackett was elected vice chairperson.

Councilors also voted on which of them would serve as a liaison to specific town and county committees and boards.

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