Woodland administrator has been fired as local turmoil continues, official says

4 weeks ago

WOODLAND, Maine – The town has fired an administrator who served as tax collector and treasurer, an official said Friday.

Vicki Page’s contract was terminated during an executive session held by the town’s Select Board, according to board chairman Matt Cole. He said that he could not disclose when or why the board fired Page due to confidential “personnel matters.” 

Page began working for Woodland in May 2023, two months after the town office shut down due to staff departures. At that time Page and newly hired clerk Bridget Coats found that the town’s bank statements had not been reconciled since January and that numerous office transactions were not being properly filed or submitted to the state.

Page was not immediately available for comment. Coats, who remains the town clerk and only office employee, referred questions to the Select Board.

Page’s firing is another example of turmoil that has plagued the town of around 1,200 people. In the past year, conflicts among Select Board members resulted in several canceled meetings and led to board resignations and allegations of harrassment. The town has also dealt with turnover in the main office

Two different town committees have formed to address issues of government ethics and the town’s future, but change remains difficult as more employee issues emerge.

Residents first learned of Page’s termination Tuesday after Select Board member Thomas Drew said that the town is working with three different law firms on three separate legal issues concerning “personnel matters” with former employees. 

Cole on Friday declined to name the former employees or clarify if any have sued the town.

Lawyer Richard Solman of Caribou, Maine-based law firm Bernstein Shur and the Maine Municipal Association are assisting the town, Cole said. 

Page is one of several employees that have either resigned or been terminated in the past year. 

In March 2023, residents lost access to their town office for two months after former clerk Emily Brooks and tax collector and treasurer Christina Kidney resigned. Kidney had been hired just one month before to replace Amber Mountiho, who resigned in September 2022. The Select Board hired Perham Town Administrator Sue Skidgell in April as a temporary employee but fired her for undisclosed reasons after only one day. 

In February, highway employee Matt Ellis resigned after being hired last March. Drew said that Ellis had issues with how the town office handled W-2 tax forms and payroll and with the Select Board’s conflicts. Ellis now works for New Sweden’s public works department, Cole said.

The town has published local job advertisements for Page and Ellis’ former positions, Cole said. 

“Once we get those people hired, it will be business as usual at the town office,” Cole said.

The town’s various financial discrepancies have been rectified, Select Board member Kathy Ouellette said during Tuesday’s meeting.