FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday, July 13, voted to enter a three-year agreement with new Town Manager Christian Waller.

Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith announced Waller’s acceptance of the position Monday. A more detailed release was received that afternoon.

“This is something we haven’t done in this town for a long time,” Smith said Tuesday. “We have held a nation-wide search, done multiple interviews. Christian Waller came to the top and we’re very excited to have him.”

“Obviously the selectmen had to make a choice, a decision based on a number of factors,” Selectman Michael Fogg said. “We feel that we’ve made the right choice. Time will tell us better.”

Waller appears to be a good fit for the town, something Fogg said he was looking for.

“He has a young family, six children,” Selectman Scott Landry said. “His wife is a registered nurse, will be seeking employment at the hospital. We were looking for someone who will serve as long as Richard (Davis).”

In February current Town Manager Richard Davis announced he would retire Aug. 27, exactly 20 years after he was named to the position. Before that he was manager in Wilton for 13.5 years after serving four years in Buckfield.

Davis was named the 2018 Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year.

“I want the best for the town,” Davis told the board. “It seems to me you’ve made a good choice, negotiated a good contract.”

Resident Dennis O’Neil asked how many applications were received and the number of interviews held.

“We received 14 applications,” Smith said. “We interviewed four, then narrowed it down to two and now here we are.”

Waller of Indianapolis is currently director of policy for Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development. He will start as town manager on Aug. 23 with an annual salary of $92,500.

Waller has a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Framingham State College, Framingham, Massachusetts, according to the release.

During the week of Aug. 23, Davis plans to spend two to three days with Waller to get him situated.

The search committee met with Waller via Zoom, Fogg said. Waller was able to call Fogg by name and knew he was a selectman. Waller took enough interest, had looked into the happenings of the town, Fogg added.

In April selectmen hired Don Gerrish, a consultant and former town manager with Eaton Peabody Consulting Group of Bangor to assist in the search for the new town manager.

In other business, selectmen approved a new lunch wagon permit for the Black Kettle, owned and operated by Alex Jannetti.

“My intention is to have a trailer where I serve fried dough, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches,” Jannetti said.

That’s a great combination, Smith said.

It’s simple, easy, something everyone enjoys, Jannetti noted. His plans are to be at the Narrow Gauge Drive-In every second and fourth Saturday when craft fairs/flea markets are held. He may also be at the Whistle Stop Trail parking lot in West Farmington to sell to ATVers and snowmobilers.

Also approved was a new policy on holding meetings with remote participation.

Holding meetings remotely had been allowed because of the state of emergency enacted by Gov. Janet Mills due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“That authority went away when the state of emergency ended,” Davis said. “A new law allows the board to continue these practices of remote participation but it has to be pursuant to a policy adopted by the town.”

The policy states physical presence at meetings is expected, except when not practicable such as in the case of an emergency, illness or absence of a board member. Notification must be made as far in advance as possible and all materials considered during the meeting must be made available to those attending remotely.

With the end of the state of emergency, restrictions on how many can attend events end, Davis said. Traditional open town meetings are again possible, he noted.

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