MECHANIC FALLS — Following three months of wrangling, negotiations and revisions, the Town Council and Town Manager Zakk Maher finally came to an agreement on a contract that does not violate the Town Charter.

Zakk Maher Submitted photo

Maher, of Poland, was originally hired in 2018 with a four-year contract, which he said he signed in good faith. But in August, two years into it, councilors discovered the Town Charter states the length of the town manager’s contract can’t be more than three years.

The council appeared to fix that issue by dissolving the contract and offering Maher a two-year deal. The new deal met the rules of the charter and continued to give Maher a four-year commitment.

But last month, Councilor Rose Aikman objected to the language that said, “the council waives the requirement of the Town Charter to live within the town.” Aikman said the charter does not give the council the power to waive a requirement in the charter.

Maher, who lives with his family two miles beyond the Mechanic Falls town line, presented town documents that showed some discrepancy between the Charter and a vote by the council in 2011 that said the town manager had to live within 10 road miles of town.

Councilor Raymond Lavoie proposed amending the wording of the contract from “waive” to “extend.” The council passed the change plus the two-year contract for Maher by a 4-1 vote, with Aikman opposing the contract and wording change.

In other business, the council approved the purchase of a utility vehicle, or side-by-side, for the fire/rescue department. The board accepted a bid from Maine-Ly Action Sports of Oxford for a Polaris Ranger Crew UTV for $33,508.75 and a skid unit from Kintek Corp. in Vermont for $7,800.

It was more expensive than a competing bid by Central Maine Powersport of Lewiston for the exact same machine, but officials felt going with a company in an adjacent town would save money on repairs and maintenance in the long run.

The board approved retail marijuana licenses for 420 Pharma and 44 Pigeon Hill, but the latter was approved “subject to the appeals process” after its license was challenged due to ordinance infractions.

Kelcey Earle was unanimously appointed to the Regional School Unit 16 board of directors. She replaces Scott Lessard, who has moved out of the district, Maher said.

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