MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council voted 3-1 on Monday night to name Mitchell Berkowitz, the former town manager in Bridgton, as interim town manager in Mechanic Falls.

Vice Chair Tarsha Downing and Councilors Rose Aikman and Raymond Lavoie voted for Berkowitz, while Councilor Paula Stotts voted in opposition.

Stotts said she voted against Berkowitz because in an interview last week with town councilors, Berkowitz said he would only stay in the position as interim for four months.

Stotts said the Maine Municipal Association, or MMA, and the Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, which specializes in municipal issues, told her it may take up to eight months to hire a full-time town manager.

Berkowitz retired as Bridgton town manager in 2014.  Since then, he has worked as interim town manager in Buckfield, Jackman, Naples, Colchester, Vermont, and Gorham and Berlin, New Hampshire.

Berkowitz is expected to assume the town manager’s duties in Mechanic Falls following a special session of the council May 20. He would succeed Zakk Maher, who submitted his resignation last month.

Berkowitz would also oversee the search for a full-time town manager. Berkowitz told town councilors he would conduct the search and submit his findings to them.

Stotts also said she opposed a process that has Berkowitz acting alone in nominating a candidate for town manager. Stotts said the MMA and Eaton Peabody have urged that residents have input in the selection process.

Stotts said Poland used a committee of Select Board members, town employees and two residents in its recruitment process.

In her opinion, Stotts said she felt the “community needs that step” to declare the qualities it seeks in the next town manager.

Stotts said Berkowitz said in his interview the public should not be involved in the process.

After votes were locked at 2-2 to have MMA,  Eaton Peabody or Norman, Hanson & DeTroy of Portland, another municipal consulting group, be appointed to oversee the search for candidates, Berkowitz won in a 3-1 votes, with Stotts voting in oppsotiion.

Town councilors also decided a successor to Councilor John Emery, who died in April, would be selected at a special session June 21.

Residents interested in serving the remaining year of Emery’s term have until June 15 to submit an application.

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