Limestone hires Bangor law firm to assist with town manager search

2 years ago

LIMESTONE, Maine – As the search for a new town manager continues, Limestone’s board of selectpeople hope to broaden their outreach with help from a Bangor-based law firm.

Limestone will pay Eaton Peabody $8,000 to assist in advertising the town manager position to a wider swath of potential applicants. Currently the town has only advertised the position in local newspapers, resulting in one applicant so far.

The five-member board unanimously voted Wednesday to limit the expanded advertising to New England states, as recommended by Interim Town Manager Walt Elliot.

Limestone has been without a permanent town manager since Tara Henderson left in September. Elliot stepped up after newly appointed interim Jim Risner departed for medical reasons.

Henderson was the fourth person to serve as town manager in two years. In the past seven years alone, Limestone has hired 11 town managers, including seven interims who took the helm during searches for a permanent manager.

During public comments, Limestone Chamber of Commerce President Michelle Albert suggested that Elliot and the board begin advertising positions on social media and job search websites like Indeed and LinkedIn.

“That’s where people are looking for jobs now. They don’t look in the newspaper,” Albert said. 

Her comments led Selectperson Chris Durepo to suggest that the town advertise on the Maine Municipal Association and Maine Job Bank websites, as well as at the Presque Isle Career Center.

In addition to a town manager, Limestone has been trying to find a new highway department foreman and laborer, a recreation director and librarian.

“We’ve had two applicants for a librarian and two for the foreman but none for the recreation director,” Elliot said. “But we do have one person interested in being the rec director, if it was a full-time position.”

The selectpeople opted to advertise the recreation director position as part time after residents reduced that department’s budget by just over $30,000.

During the annual town meeting in June, residents reduced the selectpeople’s recommended $92,050 budget to $62,000 after deeming the recreation department less of a necessity than police and fire. The department’s 2021 budget was $81,418.

On Wednesday, the board questioned whether current funds would support a full-time director, even if they found the ideal person.

The recreation department has been without a director since former director Kennedy Bencivenga left last summer. He had only been in the position several months after Doug Sharpe resigned.

Since then, the town has relied on volunteers to operate recreation programs, including the pool located in the Limestone Community School and Maine School of Science and Mathematics building.

Durepo, who serves on the recreation committee, noted that having only one lifeguard has led to “sporadic hours” for the pool this fall. Other commitments for volunteers means that the after school program will temporarily not operate starting Nov. 11.

“We’re operating on a day-by-day schedule and it’s not fair to the public. People have wanted to use the pool but we can’t without another lifeguard,” Durepo said. “We need to figure out if we’re going to fund these programs properly or get the right people in these positions.”

The board agreed to continue that conversation after they have been able to discuss potential grant and employment collaborations with Limestone Community School. 

The next board of selectpeople meeting will take place Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Limestone Town Office, located at 93 Main St.