MECHANIC FALLS — Mechanic Falls has begun advertising for a new code enforcement officer.

Fred Collins, the town’s current code enforcement officer, submitted his two-week notice last Friday.

Town Manager Zakk Maher said Collins “will be working out the remainder of his two weeks for us and we wish him all the the best.”

Fred Collins Jr., right, then-interim town manager in Mechanic Falls in June 2019, and current code enforcement officer, has given his notice and will be taking a job in Otifield.  Russ Dillingham file/Sun Journal

Collins will work for the town of Otisfield in the same capacity.

In September 2019 Collins came under scrutiny when the Town Council sought to hire an independent third party to investigate at least seven complaints against the town’s code enforcement office.

In November 2019 the council appointed Robert Overton, director of code enforcement for Augusta, who volunteered his services to be the investigator.

Town Council Chairman Kieth Bennett, who is the town’s primary contact with Overton, said Tuesday he was aware of Collins’ decision to leave but had not been in contact with Overton.

Now that Collins is leaving, the council is expected Monday to discuss whether it should continue with the investigation.

Attempts to reach Collins were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Collins also served as interim town manager after the Town Council abruptly dismissed Maher in June 2019.

Maher returned to his job as town manager in August after the council rescinded its decision to dismiss him. That decision followed weeks of litigation discussion of possible illegal maneuvering conducted by the council to fire Maher in the first place.

When the subject of investigating the Code Enforcement Office arose in September, Maher noted in an email to councilors, “I am going to recuse myself from this entire process for a conflict of interest on the grounds that the CEO (Collins) was charged with investigating myself during my administrative leave and is still, since my return, been reporting to the council directly.”

Collins was also named as one of seven town representatives and employees in Maher’s pursuant letter filed in December that preserved Maher’s right to sue the town.

The other six were Chairwoman Cathy Fifield, Vice Chairman Wayne Hackett, Councilors Nick Konstantoulakis and John Emery, Planning Board member Lou Annance and Town Clerk Julie Ward.

Collins is the fifth person to resign from a town position since June 17 when council members took the initial action against Maher. They are: Town Clerk Miranda Hinkley in June, Transfer Station Supervisor Scott Hinkley in June, Hackett in November and Fifield in February.

Collins became the town’s code enforcement officer in 2016.  Previous to that Collins worked as the code enforcement officer in Paris, a home inspector, cook, firefighter, fire inspector, EMT, emergency medical dispatcher and the owner of a building and remodeling business.

Collins also applied to become Mechanic Falls’ town manager when Koriene Low left in 2018. She had been town manager since 2015. Maher succeeded Low.

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