Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier Credit: Courtesy of City of Ellsworth

The Ellsworth City Council voted unanimously Monday night to offer the city manager position to the man who has been filling in on an interim basis since last fall.

Glenn Moshier, the city’s police chief, will continue to hold that position but also will have the “interim” designation removed from his city manager role. Moshier has been serving as Ellsworth’s interim city manager since September after David Cole, the previous city manager decided to retire.

Moshier became a frontrunner to become the city’s next long-term manager in December, after the city had narrowed its choice down to one candidate but that candidate then decided to withdraw from consideration. Rather than starting all over again with vetting applicants and setting up more interviews, the council approached Moshier to ask if he would like to apply to fill the position on a long-term basis.

Moshier had not applied for the job previously, but said he decided to apply on the condition that he would be allowed to stay on as police chief if offered the post.

The city was still working out final details of Moshier’s employment contract on Wednesday, so the terms were not publicly available, according to Dale Hamilton, chairman of the city council. Moshier’s first official day as city manager will be Sunday, Hamilton said.

About a dozen city residents raised concerns during the council’s meeting Monday about offering the job to Moshier. They did not object to Moshier’s role as police chief, but said that one employee should not hold the two positions.

They also said that by offering the job to Moshier, rather than re-advertising the job and seeking applicants with prior city manager experience, the council was not following the process for finding a new manager that it had laid out last fall.

Resident Todd Little-Siebold told the council that he is sympathetic to the challenges the council faced in interviewing candidates during a global pandemic, but that he nonetheless was “dismayed” that the council had not ended up with a public list of finalists for the job so residents could provide feedback on who they might prefer, which the council said it would do last fall.

In response, Councilor Marc Blanchette said the council did solicit and receive feedback from residents early in the process on how the position should be filled, and acknowledged that negotiating with Moshier to have him take the job permanently was not part of the original plan.

But he said that Moshier does have adequate experience to fill the position. He has a bachelor’s degree in government and, having been the city’s police chief since early 2017, has multiple years of experience with budgeting and union negotiations, Blanchette said.

“We believe his background qualifies him to be an outstanding city manager,” Blanchette said, reading from a statement on behalf of the council.

“We certainly took to heart the feedback we received,” Hamilton added.

After the vote to hire Moshier, the new city manager said the fact that he grew up in Hancock County and has worked for the city since 2004 will help him be an effective city manager. He has a good working relationship with the city’s department heads and with the police department command staff, he said.

Capt. Troy Bires, who has worked for the city police department since 1990, took over many of the police department’s day-to-day operations when Moshier became interim manager, which has worked well and should continue to work well, Moshier said.

Moshier said he wanted to retain his role as chief so he could oversee the department’s budget, personnel decisions and training, and operating policies. On a day-to-day basis, Bires will continue to arrange officers’ work schedules, directly supervise them, and manage the department’s involvement in community policing efforts such as Project Hope, a multi-organization effort to provide support to citizens seeking to overcome addiction.

“I have a competent command staff in my police department,” Moshier said. “I have complete confidence in them.”

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....