Town Manager Joe Roach, left, attends an emergency meeting of selectmen in March. He resigned his position Tuesday night after a short executive session on his contract. Selectman, from left, are Chairwoman Tina Brooks, Vice Chairwoman Martha Catevenis and Cheryl Coffman. Erin Place file photo

BUCKFIELD — Town Manager Joe Roach suddenly resigned at the end of Tuesday’s select board meeting.

The move followed a nine-minute executive session on the his contract. The resignation is effective as of Aug. 21, four days before the scheduled annual Town Meeting and election.

“I have accepted a position as town manager in another Maine municipality beginning at the end of August,” Roach said in a statement after the meeting. ” I will continue to work diligently for the board and the town of Buckfield for the next month — focusing on filling any vacant positions, wrapping up projects, and helping with the Referendum Public Hearing on August 11.”

Roach has served as town manager since February 2018. Prior to coming to Buckfield, he served as the public works director in Rangeley.

The Select Board asked that the open position be posted

Earlier in the meeting, the Select Board voted to place the profit earned from the sale of tax-acquired property on Morrill Street in the revaluation account.

After payment of back taxes and fees, the town was left with a balance of $2,694.24 in December 2019. By state law, the money was placed in its own account, according to Town Clerk Cindy Dunn, who is also the treasurer. Before closing out the books, Dunn asked for direction on which account to deposit the funds.

Roach suggested placing the money in the Land Conservation Reserve, which has more than $6,300. No money has been spent from that account.

But Select Board member Martha Catevenis said the money belong in a fund to help pay for a potential revaluation of properties.

The board passed the proposal 2-1, with Chairwoman Tina Brooks joining Catevenis and Cheryl Coffman opposing the motion.

The Select Board tabled a request to schedule a meeting of the Board of Assessors in early fall until it could check on a meeting date.

Things got heated during a discussion about possible trusts from Damon Cemetery and Zadoc Long Library. Catevenis wondered why it was taking so long to get answers about whether the town may have illegally taken over the trusts without a court order. Both entities were given to the town several years ago.

Dunn insisted that the cemetery did not have a trust fund, but the library did have one and the town voted to accept the money at a town meeting.

Catevenis repeatedly voiced her frustration with the town manager on the delay in getting information on the trust funds. She said she wanted to make sure that if the town is spending money from the trust fund, “we need to make sure we are doing it correctly.”

The board ended up postponing any action on the library funds.

In other action, Coffman volunteered to serve on the hiring committee for the public works foremen.

The board:

• Canceled Community Day 2020 due to continued COVID-19 safety concerns.

• Granted permission for Central Maine Power to place a pole on Shedd Hollow Road and First Light to place three poles on Paris Hill Road.

• Reviewed Phase IV of reopening town operations, scheduled Aug. 1, in relation to COVID-19. The main change is that the library will open with no more than five people at a time with a limit of 15 minutes per person. Visitors must wear masks and also gloves if they are looking at books.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: