MECHANIC FALLS — Wayne Hackett resigned from the Town Council on Monday but did not give a reason.

Wayne Hackett Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Chairperson Cathy Fifield announced the resignation at Monday night’s council meeting, saying Hackett submitted a letter of resignation to Town Manager Zakk Maher earlier in the day.

Maher said no reasons were given in the letter.

It was recently reported that Hackett had bought salt and sand from the town at greatly reduced prices for 20 years.

Hackett had said he always had approval from past town managers to purchase the town’s salt and sand.

“How is that not a conflict of interest or a direct profit from his seat on the council? asked Jim Vadeboncoeur, a property owner who learned about the purchases from an email he obtained through a Maine Freedom of Access Act. “Nobody else in the town can buy it,” he said.

Vadeboncoeur provided the email to the Sun Journal.

Hackett has been embroiled in local town politics for many years, surviving a recall effort in September due in large part to his and three other councilors’ attempt to dismiss Maher as town manager.

Hackett’s term was to expire in 2021.

The remaining four councilors have to select an interim councilor to serve until the next municipal election in June 2020.

Councilors invited residents interested in the council seat to submit their name and fill out a general application, the same as others seeking a spot on a town committee.

Tarsha Downing, who lost the race with Councilor Joe Emery earlier this year, said she would be interested in filling the position.

Audience members asked that former councilor and current Planning Board member Lou Annance be asked.

Another resident asked that Planning Board member Paula Stotts also be considered.

Residents interested in being selected have until the next council meeting Dec. 2 to notify the council, which will decide then.

In other business, the council approved four resolutions, submitted by Maher, which were tabled in September and October. They are:

• Conflict of Interest and Notice of Personal Gain.

• Transparency in Action, in which all municipal activity shall be conducted in an open and transparent manner.

• Define expectations for council members to serve to the best of their abilities and in good faith.

• The performance and rights of the town manager according to town structure.

Maher and councilors agreed that attending last month’s workshop/training seminar titled on the roles of elected officials and municipal managers was very helpful. Hackett did not attend.

Fifield said the town Comprehensive Plan must be reviewed and updated. The plan expresses and regulates public policies on transportation, utilities, land use, recreation and housing.

Maher said the town also needs to begin organizing its local rules and ordinances into a digitized format.

The council also appointed Robert Overton, the director of code enforcement for Augusta, as the independent third party to investigate complaints against the town code enforcement office. Maher said Overton will do the job for free.


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