(from the March
2007 Maine Townsman)

Mari Eosco ran unopposed February 20 to fill the remaining term of Bath City Councilor John “Jack” Hart, who died last December. Eosco, known as “Main Street Mari” for her efforts as coordinator of the downtown group Main Street Bath, will serve through December 2007.

Former Lewiston Police Chief Laurent “Larry” Gilbert, who went on to serve as U.S. marshal under the Clinton administration, easily defeated three other candidates for Lewiston mayor on February 27. He replaces Lionel Guay, who resigned in January for personal reasons.

Gary Lamb won four of six votes from the Sanford City Council on February 20 to fill the unexpired term of Laura Finn Nickerson, who resigned last month after taking a state job. Lamb was one of four men to seek the position. He will serve until a new election in November to fill the remaining two years of Nickerson’s term.

There were only a few top management changes in February in Maine municipal government. Longtime Auburn City Manager Patricia “Pat” Finnigan, once a lobbyist for the Maine Municipal Association, has been hired to work as assistant to Portland City Manager Joe Gray. Finnigan will stay with Auburn until the city’s FY 2008 budget is approved in June.

Francis Grey Jr., former Gardiner economic development assistant and utility clerk, has replaced Brad Vassey as Gouldsboro town manager. The Gouldsboro job is the Bangor native’s first as manager. He has a public administration degree from the University of Maine. Vassey, meanwhile, a trained lawyer, said he’d like to do some lobster fishing in the spring, and maybe even buy a boat.

Speaking of getting out of the town office: Richmond Town Manager David Peppard gave up his manager’s job to take a part-time position with the town’s public work’s department. A retired Maine game warden, Peppard often parked his John Deere tractor at the town office during haying season. He has been replaced by Thomas Fortier.

Presque Isle Police Chief Naldo Gagnon, who joined the department almost 30 years ago as a new patrolman, has been named Maine “Police Chief of the Year” by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association. City Manager Tom Stevens said the award, presented in mid-February, not only recognizes Gagnon’s ability, but the respect he commands from his peers.

Donald Lagrange has been named the new code enforcement officer for the island town of Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island, replacing Stephen Wilson. Lagrange worked as CEO in Eliot for six years before taking the Southwest Harbor job in early February.

In early February, Calais City Manager Linda Pagels was tabbed as Washington County’s first county administrator. Pagels, 53, served as city manager for five years and beat out 19 other candidates for the job. The Calais City Council has named Assistant City Manager Jim Porter as interim manager.

David Stone has returned as Appleton’s fire chief after “bascially” retiring from the department for a few years. He was recently elected to a three-year term by his peers in the department. Stone replaces John Boyington, who worked as chief over the past three years.

Among the municipal officials and staff who died recently include Harold E. Jones, 81, of Yarmouth, who served in the town’s fire department for nearly 25 years, including the last 13 as its chief, as well as 28 years with the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring in 1985 as a lieutenant commander; John William McPhail Jr., 46, of Old Town, who served as a town firefighter for the past seven years; Kittery Town Planner James S. Noel, 54, of Shapleigh, who was considered an effective leader in Kittery town government and who also served as a former selectman and member of the school committee in his hometown of Shapleigh, and worked as code enforcement officer, plumbing inspector and town planner in South Berwick; and Arthur Tainter of Bath, 81, Sagadahoc County commissioner and former sheriff, Bath recreation director, police office and, finally, city councilor for two terms.