MADAWASKA, Maine – Town officials are reconfiguring responsibilities of administrative staff and planning for the near future in the wake of Madawaska Town Manager Gary Picard’s sudden resignation.
Picard on Feb. 5 submitted his resignation to Select Board Chairman Richard Dionne and Vice Chairman Jason Boucher.
Selectmen will hold an emergency meeting at 4:30 p.m. Friday in which they will discuss the resignation and finding a new town manager. The agenda includes three items: formally accepting Picard’s resignation letter, considering an executive search method, and to discuss creating a hiring committee.
Some residents at a recent select board meeting criticized Picard and the selectmen because of the town’s slower response to snow cleanup. This occurred in the wake of three public works employees, including the director, quitting in late November. Prior to this, two other public works employees had also quit.
The town has since filled most of the department’s vacancies, and are currently interviewing applicants to fill the vacant director role.
Picard served as Madawaska’s town manager for seven years. Before coming to Madawaska, he served as the town manager in St. Agatha.
Picard will pursue a new career, according to a press release issued by selectmen on Thursday.
“Gary Picard has been an invaluable asset to our community,” Dionne said in the release, “and his dedication and commitment to Madawaska have been truly commendable. We are saddened to see him go, but we wholeheartedly support his decision to explore new horizons. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Dionne said the town is committed to ensuring a smooth transition, and that officials will immediately begin searching for a new town manager.
Administrative staff will need to take on additional responsibilities during the interim, according to the release, which added that they are confident that municipal services should seamlessly continue.
“We understand that the departure of our town manager may raise concerns among our residents,” Boucher said in the release. “However, we assure you that the administrative staff is prepared to take on these extra responsibilities. We are committed to maintaining the high standards of service that Madawaska deserves.”
Boucher said on Thursday that the town has not selected an interim manager.
“If needed, this is something that would be discussed during a future meeting and then voted on at that time,” he said.
He said this does not necessarily mean that selection of an interim manager will be discussed during the Feb. 9 meeting, but said it could be taken up at a future meeting.
“The emergency meeting has been slated to first acknowledge Gary’s resignation and begin talks on what the next steps will be,” he said.
Both Dionne and Boucher wished Picard the best in his future endeavors.
“Mr. Picard’s departure marks the end of seven years of public service to the town,” Dionne said, “But it also signifies the beginning of a fresh chapter for both him and the town of Madawaska.”