(from the March 2009 Maine Townsman)

Rumford selectmen in February appointed Police Chief Stacy Carter as interim public safety director as a step toward creating a joint police and fire department. Under the plan approved on a 3-1 vote, selectmen agreed to move ahead with Town Manager Len Greaney’s idea to combine the police and fire department operations — as well as those of code enforcement, the health officer and the animal control officer — as one operation with one director responsible for the budgets and policies of all of the town’s public safety units. Carter will receive a $13,000 salary increase with the added duties. A proposed ordinance will go before June town meeting voters, who ultimately will decide whether to keep the joint department.

Howland Town Manager Glenna Armour is retiring in July, 2009 after serving 37 years of dedicated service to the town. Glenna was hired by the town in 1972 as an office clerk and then hired as town manager in 1979. She worked closely with the town’s planning board on the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and on the construction of the bypass at the Howland Dam.

Los Angeles Police Captain James Craig has been named police chief of Maine’s largest city. Craig, 52, comes to Portland after working for the LAPD for almost 30 years, many of them in some of the city’s most dangerous areas. As a captain, he supervised 370 officers; Portland’s force totals 160. Craig will begin his new duties on May 4.

Longtime former Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion has announced she will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in the primary election next year. Dion served as the city’s mayor from 1997 to 2003.

Melissa Harvill was named deputy town clerk, tax collector and deputy treasurer in February by the Washington Board of Selectmen. Harvill replaces Ann Dean, who resigned. Harvill, who has 15 years of office experience, will work part-time.

In a special election in February, Penny Jordan defeated James Walsh to fill an unexpired term on the Cape Elizabeth Town Council. Jordan fills the seat vacated last fall by Mary Ann Lynch. Jordan will serve through December 2010. She defeated Walsh by a vote of 569-400. Lynch resigned after accepting a position with the Maine judiciary.

A joint effort to create a tri-town public works department began to take shape in February when the communities of Readfield, Manchester and Wayne hired John Moultrie as director of the collaborative. Moultrie, a Chesterville resident, worked as highway supervisor for Georgetown, Massachusetts, for 15 years before moving to Maine. He has worked as a Readfield equipment operator for the past 18 months.

Five Bangor police officers were recognized for valor in January by the Maine Association of Police. Officers Richard Polk and Jason Stuart received heroism awards for saving two people from a burning home while on patrol last June. Officers Chris Blanchard and Michael Jewett received lifesaving awards for saving a resident who had hung himself from a tree, with one officer climbing on the other’s back to cut the noose in time. Officer Russell Twaddell also received a lifesaving award for reviving an airport patron who had collapsed from heart failure. Meanwhile, the police association recognized Greenville Police Chief Scott MacMaster and state game warden Sgt. William “Bill” Chandler for talking an armed man into surrendering inside a supermarket, and prevented anyone from being injured during the standoff.

Ralph Sarty Jr. has resigned as a selectman for the town of Denmark in far western Maine, citing the difficulty of serving as both a selectman and a newly-elected state representative in the Maine Legislature.

Minot selectmen in late February promoted Road Commissioner Arlan Saunders to town administrator, effective immediately. A 10-year town employee, Saunders replaced Rhonda Irish, who accepted the job of Wilton town manager. Saunders will continue his duties as road commissioner, as well as his new work as town administrator.

After almost 30 years of service to the town of New Sharon, Miriam Smith has announced she will not seek another term as town treasurer. A new treasurer will be nominated from the floor of the annual town meeting in March.

Weld Fire Chief Wallis Tyler was carried down a trail on popular Bald Mountain March 1 by members of his own department after dislocating a knee and being unable to make the walk down the 1,400-foot peak. Tyler had reached the summit of the popular mountain near Weld with his wife and a friend before his knee gave out. A rescue crew from Weld, Wilton and Farmington made the 1.25-mile climb, sometimes on icy terrain, to get the chief and bring him down on a portable rescue sled.

Kittery Police Chief Edward “Ed” Strong has been named Maine’s 2008 Chief of the Year. A 30-year department veteran, Strong won the top chief’s award in 2001. Strong said he was “shocked” by the award, but that he welcomed the good news during what will be a “doom-and-gloom” budget season.

William “Bill” Welch, Lewiston’s longtime police chief, has completed a two-week FBI-created law enforcement seminar to help develop leadership skills and offer high-ranking police officials from local, state and federal government agencies a chance to meet each other and exchange leadership ideas. Welch was invited to the national seminar by FBI Director Robert

Bath Finance Director Abigail Yacoben has accepted the finance director position in nearby Freeport, replacing Gregory L’Heureux, who also moved from Bath to Freeport in 2002. Yacoben, a Maine native and graduate of the University of Chicago, will begin her new duties in mid-March, though she has agreed to work part-time for Bath until April 10. L’Heureux left Freeport in late February to accept the finance director’s job for the city of South Portland.

At its organizational meeting in January, Joseph Hanslip was re-elected chairman of the Sanford Town Council and Maura Herlihy was re-elected as vice-chair.

Former Thomaston Selectman Walter “Walt” Breen died February 4 at the age of 75. Breen served the town for 12 years as a selectman and member of other municipal boards. He worked for the Maine State Prison for 40 years.