On July 1, Town Manager Dawn Waisanen, Fire Chief Mark Blaquiere, and Police Chief Mike Dailey simultaneously took over leadership potions in Paris. Sun Journal/Jon Bolduc Buy this Photo

PARIS — First rule of leadership? Don’t ask your crew to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

“I’m not going to ask my privates to clean the bathrooms if they don’t see me cleaning the bathrooms. I’m right in there getting my hands dirty as much as they are,” said Paris Fire Chief Mark Blaquiere, one of three “new” department heads who took over in Paris on July 1.

“New” has a bit of a caveat. All three have experience with the town; Blaquiere worked his way up through the ranks, from a firefighter to a captain, to the assistant deputy chief, and finally, chief. Waisanen started as a book-keeper before becoming Interim Town Manager in December of 2018, and Dailey is a longtime employee of the police department who has already worked in every position including chief.

Waisanen said that the departments of the town work together as a cohesive whole; if there’s a tree in the road, she can call up Blaquiere, if there’s a safety issue, she can call the police department. The feeling of togetherness makes everyone’s job easier.

When you have people under you that work together, it makes my job a lot easier. If I have a road complaint, I know who to call. It makes it easier; I have people to bounce ideas off of. We communicate, and that’s the biggest key; I think that’s why we’re rolling ahead soothly. We have bumps in the road, but who doesn’t? We keep moving and we learn from each other,” said Waisanen.

Dailey said his transition was an easy one.

“Leadership-wise, and structure-wise, with the people that we have, we’re in really good shape. It was an easy transition, town-wide. We all have great relationships, working together, which makes it easy …. the staff is the key. I don’t have to work much,” said Dailey. Meaning he can get off the street and focus on some of the important projects the police department offers.

In an interview in May, former Paris Police Chief Hartley ‘Skip’ Mowatt stressed his community based policing approach. Mowatt said that walking into town and getting to know residents was paramount to a successful police department. Dailey agreed.

“His way with the public and his networking is hard to duplicate or reproduce. There are certain pieces we can take from that, and use,” said Dailey.

Dailey said the department has already completed safety talks with residents of the Hill Street Apartment Complexes and is continuing to work with the DARE program at the elementary school. Dailey also said that he revamped the Town Of Paris Police Seal with an emblem of a wagon produced at the historic Paris Manufacturing Company.

All three agreed that coming up through the ranks leads to a greater rapport and respect with their respective teams; it’s not like some unknown person suddenly took up the wheel. Everyone knows them and has a clear sense of the chain of command.

Waisanen said that she’s happy with the direction the town is heading.

“The town’s in a great place right now. Especially where it comes to my employees, we’re all working together and we all have the same common goal; to help the residents and to keep things moving. That’s where we’re at. We have to get the road budget under control and get the budgeting under control, but we have a good grasp on it … obviously, we’re taking care of the residents because they pay our bills,” said Waisanen.

Blaquiere agreed and said that each department understood its place in the town.

“It doesn’t matter that his shirt says police, and mine says fire; we’re all one town. It doesn’t matter what department we work for; we work for the town of Paris,” said Blaquiere.

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