City manager candidate visits Caribou

12 years ago
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Aroostook Republican photo/Natalie Bazinet
Caribou City Manager candidate Austin Bleess, right, and his wife, Beth, visited with many Caribou citizens including RSU 39 Superintendent Frank McElwain, at left, during the Meet and Greet on Sept. 21.

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

CARIBOU — A candidate for the position of Caribou city manager visited the community over the weekend, meeting with Caribou employees, board members, business owners and councilors.

City Manager candidate Austin Bleess, currently the City Administrator for the City of Winnebago, Minnesota, flew to Maine on Friday with his wife, Beth.

The two attended a “Meet and Greet” on Friday night at the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center that all community members were invited to attend.

Among those attending the reception was Caribou resident Paul Theriault, who thinks that Bleess would do well as Caribou’s city manager.

“He has a very impressive resume,” Theriault said, adding his opinion that what Caribou needs right now is a fresh perspective from someone outside the region. “[Bleess] is a very nice, personable young man, and his wife also; I think they were relatively impressed with Caribou.”

Caribou Mayor Kenneth Murchison also described Bleess as a very personable, knowledgeable and nice young man.

Murchison explained that the City Council had selected four people initially for interviews; of those four selected, one had already accepted a position with another and was not interviewed.

Bleess was the only candidate that received a second interview.

During the Meet and Greet on Friday, Bleess said that everyone he’d met in Caribou so far had been very nice.

“It’s a nice community — very beautiful with the hills and the trees,” Bleess said. “I met with members of the Caribou Economic Growth Council and it seems they have a lot of interesting things in the hopper,” he added, mentioning his excitement to work with the group on those project ideas.

The council is anticipated to discuss the city manager position during their next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Councilor’s Chambers.