MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council voted Monday night to exclude citizen representation in the hiring process for a new town manager.

Two town employees, however, will be included in the procedure to contract a successor to former town manager Zakk Maher, who left office last month.

Interim Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said if the town council desired citizen involvement in the process, it should advertise and recruit them later this month.

Councilor Paula Stotts recommended the inclusion of citizens to the interview and recommendation committee. Stotts said she felt from what she heard from the public is that it distrusts the town council and including citizens in the process would provide “additional transparency”.

Councilors Tarsha Downing, Rose Aikman and Ray Lavoie disagreed and didn’t support her motion.

Downing said the council has duty to select and appoint a town manager while Aikman pointed that citizens can express their views and opinions known to the council. Lavoie said adding two citizens “muddles things up” and they do not have the right to an executive decision.


Aikman’s motion to include two town employees passed by a 3-1 vote, with Stotts being the lone opposition.

With the town’s Municipal Election Referendum set for Tuesday, June 8, the council could be seeing some turnover before the end of the month.

Vying for the two 3-year town council seats are current councilperson Tarsha Downing and newcomer Darrell Young. Current councilors Paula Stotts and Raymond Lavoie are also running against each other for the one 2-year seat as neither were formally elected to their positions.

Stotts was appointed in April following the resignation of former chairman Keith Bennett, while Lavoie received his appointment after Nick Konstantoulakis stepped down last August.

The town council is also scheduled to appoint a successor to John Emery’s council seat in a special session on June 21. Emery resigned in April and passed away shortly after. Due to state requirements, his vacancy could not be included on the June 8 election ballot.

Residents interested in serving the remaining year of Emery’s term have until June 15 to apply. Applications can be obtained from the town clerk.


Other office seekers on June ballot are:

Mark Gary is seeking one of the two open 3-year seats on the Sanitary District.

Patricia Irish is running for one of the two 3-year seats on the Regional School Union 16 School Committee.

Voters will also decide on the proposed municipal budget of $3.02 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year on Tuesday. The budget saw a reduction of $133,000, or 4.4%, from the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The budget includes county taxes but not the town’s share for Regional School Union 16, which also includes Poland and Minot. The school district’s budget will be a separate referendum ballot on June 8.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: