Orrington selectmen decided Monday to put off hiring a permanent town manager for at least a year so the turmoil that has roiled the community recently has time to blow over.
Instead, Joe Hayes, a former town manager in Stockton Springs and Veazie, will work 10 hours a week temporarily while selectman seek an interim town manager who would hold the position for a year or more, according to a recording of the selectmen’s meeting posted on Facebook.
Hayes helped town officials prepare the budget that was approved at last week’s annual town meeting.
Selectmen agreed to seek help in the search process from the Maine Municipal Association, a Bangor law firm and other groups that conduct personnel searches. A committee of residents screened and interviewed applicants for the town manager position earlier this year but few applicants had experience working as town managers.
The result of that process was the hiring of Joan Gibson of Levant, who had no experience in municipal government. Selectmen fired her in May in a 3-2 vote two months into a six-month contract.
Gibson was the third person to leave the top job in Orrington in less than a year. Longtime Manager Paul White resigned in July and Interim Town Manager Andy Fish left in late January to take a job as finance director in neighboring Holden.
“What makes the most sense to me is to look for a professional interim town manager,” Selectman Michael Curtis said.
Orrington residents have been divided over a number of subjects in recent months, including police coverage in town after the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office ended a decades-old community policing arrangement with the town, the construction of a new public safety building in town and recall petitions targeting different members of the Board of Selectmen.