MADAWASKA, Maine – After searching for more than two months, the town of Madawaska has found a new public works director.
Mark Berube was appointed public works director on Feb. 5 after the town received numerous applications and conducted interviews, according to a press release on Friday announcing the move. Berube had been serving as the department’s interim director.
The vacancy occurred when former public works director Kevin Dube and two other employees quit in late November. Town officials met with remaining employees shortly afterward, who stated that they had concerns about wages, benefits, and felt there was a lack of appreciation from the town. Those concerns were later addressed by town officials.
Berube said he is looking forward to taking on the director role.
“I am honored to accept the position of Director of Public Works for the Town of Madawaska,” he said in the press release. “I am committed to ensuring that our town’s infrastructure remains safe, efficient, and sustainable. Together with my dedicated team, we will strive to provide the highest level of service to our community.”
The department now has two vacancies. There is one opening for a full-time office manager and equipment operator and another for a mechanic and equipment operator. Prior to becoming interim director, Berube was the department’s office manager, according to Town Manager Gary Picard, who submitted his resignation letter earlier this week.
“Mark has shown us leadership skills over the course of his employment, and the capacity to overcome,” Picard said in the release. “His ability to quickly adapt, his prior working knowledge, and his understanding of our town’s needs make him the perfect fit for the Director of Public Works position.”
Picard and the select board received criticism while the town worked to fill the gaps left after employees quit in November. Two other employees had left prior to the resignations. Vacancies in the department led to a delayed response to snow cleanup, causing some residents to complain during a January meeting.
The select board voted to approve $5 raises throughout the department in addition to a $3 shift differential for nights and weekends in order to address the concerns of employees and to make the jobs more attractive and easier to fill.
The town’s budget and mill rate were already set for the year, however municipalities are able to spend an additional 15 percent of their public works budget if they do not have enough to effectively maintain or repair the roads, according to Maine law.
With the raises approved, employees at the department now make between $21.50 to $29 per hour.