MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council and Town Manager Zakk Maher on Monday night unanimously endorsed council Chairperson Cathy Fifield’s proposal to hire a professional municipal consultant.

The effort is an attempt to end the unrest and division since the council voted 4-1 in June to dismiss Maher, who was reinstated in August after the council rescinded its vote. A move to recall the four councilors who favored the firing fell short by eight votes in September.

“It is time for the council and the town manager to have a workshop to help clarify the roles of each, the expectations of each, the goals of the town, preferably with some public input,” Fifield said.

She requested the council hire Don Gerrish, the municipal services consultant with the law firm of Eaton Peabody. Gerrish has more than 37 years of experience in municipal affairs. He was town manager of Gorham for 10 years and town manager for Brunswick for 20 years.

Fifield met him in October when councilors and Maher attended a workshop/training seminar titled Roles of Elected Official and Municipal Managers sponsored by the Maine Municipal Association.

In her opening presentation to crowd of nearly 30 residents, Fified said, “I believe in this community, and I know these guys do too,” referring to councilors. “The council has every intention on working with the town manager, I want to be clear on that.”

She said, “I hear a lot of negative stuff out there and I talked to (Maher). He is ready to move on and so are we. So I’m asking the community to give us a chance.”

Fifield said having Gerrish run the workshop would help clarify the gray areas within the Town Charter and the Town Council Rules of Order.

“I feel It’s a win-win for Zakk . . . I feel it’s a win for the Town Council. I feel it’s a win for the community,” she said.

Councilor Joe Emery concurred.

“I’m in agreement with this,” he said. “We do need to have something to sit down together. I don’t want to see it regress back to where it was before.

“I want this town to succeed,” Emery said. “To see government work. Because if it doesn’t work on the national level, it doesn’t mean it can’t work on a local level if we try a little bit.”

Gerrish’s services would cost $300. Subsequent workshops, if necessary, would cost $200 an hour.


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