MECHANIC FALLS — Nearly two months after he was fired as town manager, Zakk Maher is expected to be back on the job Tuesday morning.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Town Council, the four councilors who terminated Maher, and later placed him on administrative leave, voted to reconsider their initial actions.

After a motion made by Vice Chairman Wayne Hackett, Chairwoman Cathy Fifield and Councilors Nicholas Konstantoulakis and John Emery voted 4-0 to rescind the preliminary resolution.

Keith Bennett, the lone councilor who voted June 17 against relieving Maher of his duties, was absent.

The decision to rescind the earlier vote was met with applause from the more than 100 residents who packed the tiny basement gym at the Municipal Building.

While Maher did not attend the meeting, his lawyer, Adam Lee, was present and phoned Maher immediately after the council’s action.

Lee said Maher was pleased with the councilors’ change of heart.

“(It is a) pretty obvious acknowledgment of what we we’ve been saying the entire time: They had no basis to terminate him in the first place,” Lee said.

Despite Maher’s being away from the Town Office for about a month and a half, Lee said the council should expect Maher will do well when he returns to the work he was hired to do a year ago.

“They should not have any expectation that he is going to operate outside the charter or outside state law,” Lee said. “They have to live by the parameters, they have to comply by state law.”

The council cited the reasons for Maher’s discharge in a preliminary resolution letter made public after a lawsuit was filed July 11, claiming the town had failed to follow state open-meeting laws. Maher was let go in the 10th month of four-year contract with the town.

The council’s letter stated Maher’s dismissal was “due to the lack of communication, follow through and fit with the town.”  The council also changed its wording from terminating Maher as town manager to placing him on administrative leave until a public hearing could be held.

On advice from the town’s attorney, Jack Conway of Linnell Choate & Webber, the Town Council had not conveyed any other, more-specific reasons for Maher’s removal.

Many residents have claimed state laws were violated, as were rules in the town charter for how a town manager is to be terminated.

A citizen recall committee headed by Mark Elliott had begun collecting signatures for a recall of four councilors: Fifield, Hackett, Konstantoulakis and Emery.

On Monday night, Elliott posted on the recall committee’s Facebook page that his group will continue its recall efforts.

“OK, well that was an interesting meeting,” the post read. “Many of you will be happy that Zakk is being reinstated. What does this mean for the recall? It means absolutely nothing. Since the recall itself was about so much more than just the firing of Zakk, the recall will continue to go on as planned.

“We will continue to collect signatures and we will continue to need your support! We have to put an end to good old boy politics, lack of transparency, disregard for the charter, and most importantly, the disrespect for the people of Mechanic Falls. After all, they work for us.”


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