Friday afternoon, Town Manager Richard Davis at left is surprised with a retirement party. Also seen are new Town Manager Christian Waller and Selectperson Stephan Bunker. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — More than 30 people gathered Friday afternoon, Aug. 27, to wish outgoing Town Manager Richard Davis well on his retirement.

Davis, who took the position exactly 20 years previously, was shocked when he was led into the downstairs meeting room at the municipal building. Many current and former town employees, selectmen and members of town boards were present.

“This is really more about you folks than me as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “To me to quote that corny song ‘You are the wings beneath my wings’, you’re really what runs the town.

“You’ve done a great job,” he continued. “I couldn’t ask for a better crew. It’s sad leaving but I’m leaving knowing that things are in good hands.”

Farmington is the best town in the state of Maine in his opinion, Davis stated.

“Dick’s been fantastic in terms of helping me understand some of the different moving parts, introducing me to all the players, showing me all of the various places,” new Farmington Town Manager Christian Waller said. “I’ve met a lot of folks, am looking forward to getting to know those I don’t, working with you so we can continue to build on the great work Dick and many in this room have already done.”

Pictures of Davis’ early years and his 20 years in Farmington were shared through a slide show.

“See what 20 years with us will do!” quipped Selectman Stephan Bunker when side by side photos of Davis when he first started and a recent one were put on the screen.

During a retirement party Friday afternoon, Aug. 27, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis holds up a shirt he was gifted while his wife Shelly Davis snaps a photo. Friday was Davis’ last day after serving the town for 20 years. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Davis’ leadership during and after the LEAP explosion and managing all of the resulting moving pieces was recognized by Bunker. Some citizens have expressed to Bunker that they wished Davis was staying longer.

Davis was recognized by Paul Mills as one of the Farmington Downtown Association’s most supportive and invigorating participants.

“This retirement thing isn’t what it’s cracked up to be,” Selectman Scott Landry said.

“Maybe I’ll come up and milk a cow,” Davis replied.

As a rookie selectman with zero experience Selectman Michael Fogg said he asked Davis for advice and guidance. Davis gave him a manual and told him to familiarize himself with it.

“I looked at him,” Fogg said. “He said, ‘When you get done doing that, I always do what’s best for the town.’ I like that advice, that’s the basis of what I do as a selectman.”

“At the end of the day more times than not we all came to Richard for advice on what we had to decide on,” Selectman Matthew Smith said. “It was always what was best for the town, not always the easiest decision or the most popular one. I thank you for that.”

Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell at left and Linda Grant, former executive secretary for Farmington, catch up prior to a surprise retirement party for Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis Friday afternoon, Aug. 27. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Fire Chief Terry Bell presented Davis with a plaque on behalf of the fire department in appreciation for his 20 years of support.

Davis’ advice, candor and leadership were appreciated by former Police Chief Jack Peck. Peck also thanked Davis for his service to the law enforcement community through his 20 years serving on the Board of Trustees at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Having had some great and not so good bosses, Davis was one of the best bosses ever, Parks and Recreation Department Director Matt Foster said. He added he had learned a lot from Davis over the years.

Former Executive Secretary Linda Grant extended her heartfelt congratulations to Davis then presented him with numerous items for him to use on pretend camping trips while his wife, Shelly Davis was at work.

Several other gifts, including a panoramic view of Farmington were presented to Davis.

“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “I didn’t expect this. I can’t thank you enough for all the good work you’ve done over the years. It’s all for the citizens.”

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