MADAWASKA, Maine – Madawaska officials unanimously accepted Town Manager Gary Picard’s resignation during an emergency meeting on Friday, however he will remain in the post until a separation agreement is reached.
“Gary is still with us today,” said Jason Boucher, Vice-Chair of the Select Board. “He is still acting as the town manager today. So we’re not going without a leader. We’re still working together as a board, with the town manager, to make sure the town runs smoothly.”
Picard, who has been the town manager since 2017, submitted his letter of resignation on Feb. 5. He had been at the center of recent controversy surrounding the town’s public works department which saw three employees quit in November.
Board Chairman Richard Dionne said after the meeting that a final date of employment for Picard has not yet been set.
After accepting Picard’s resignation, the board voted to request proposals from groups that could help with the transition. The town will reach out to Eaton Peabody, a Bangor-based firm and Betsy Oulton of HR Maine Consulting. They will also reach out to David Barrett of the Maine Municipal Association when he returns from vacation in mid-February.
The board tabled the third and final item on the agenda, which was to form a hiring committee, until they determine who will help them with the transition. But several board members stated that they would work to have public involvement during the search.
“I’m not sure how to go about it, but people here have seen the good, the bad, the ugly – all of it,” said selectman Christopher Michaud. “I think, to have, if at all possible, at least one or two representatives from the public at large.”
Boucher said it may slow down the search to have the public involved from the very beginning, but was receptive to involving members of the public, or a department head or school committee member, as the number of candidates narrows down.
Board member Manon Bilodeau-Raymond emphasized the importance of public involvement.
“It can’t just be us,” she said. “We’re representing them, but they have a voice too.”
The board’s next regular meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 13.