HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton police chief will juggle two big jobs for the near future, adding town manager to his long list of responsibilities.
On Monday night, Chief Tim DeLuca was unanimously appointed interim town manager by the Houlton Town Council. He will stay in the role until a permanent town manager is hired. The interim role cannot exceed six months, according to the council.
Former Town Manager Marian Anderson retired from her position for family reasons in August, but she remained available to the town for assistance until Nov. 1. Anderson was town manager for five years.
DeLuca came to Houlton as police chief in early 2017. Prior to that he was deputy chief at Old Orchard Beach Police Department, where he served in various roles for 33 years.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be challenging. Both positions separately are challenging jobs,” DeLuca said. “From the town side and the law enforcement side I am surrounded by great employees. They are all knowledgeable and more than capable of taking on these tasks. It’s going to be a lot easier to manage knowing I have that support behind me.”
DeLuca’s current salary is $89,000, he said.
Additional compensation for DeLuca’s town manager role will be paid at an hourly rate of $43.38, according to Town Councilor Jane Torres. The council calculated the amount from the former town manager’s salary of $90,227, she said.
Patten was almost four years without a permanent manager at the helm, and Limestone went through 11 town managers in seven years. In June, Limestone hired Alvin Lam, a former real estate manager, who said he would donate his entire $80,000 salary back to the town. Nonetheless, Lam vacated the position in August to take on the job of director of special projects and a Select Board member was appointed interim town manager.
The Houlton Town Council contracted with Maine Municipal Association to assist with the town manager search. The association will vet candidates based on the town’s needs before the council interviews them, according to Torres.
Houlton has a budget of approximately $12.3 million and 60 employees, according to the position description.
The council is seeking someone with strong budget and financial management skills, experience in personnel management and labor relations, knowledge of grant preparation and administration, and demonstrated experience in economic development issues.
In the meantime, DeLuca and other town staff will take on more responsibilities, communicate more and get the job done, DeLuca said, adding that they are feeling Anderson’s loss.
“Marian was an outstanding town manager and we are all feeling the impact [of her leaving],” DeLuca said. “But Marian had priorities and she had to make some life decisions. She stepped up and stayed with us as long as she could but she finally had to step down permanently.”
DeLuca’s office will remain at the police department, but he will be at the town hall frequently, he said.
He sees his role as maintaining the status quo until a replacement is hired.
“My goals are to support our staff and we are all accountable to the citizens and the council,” DeLuca said. “My No. 1 goal is the day-to-day operations, supporting our department heads, our employees and needs of the town.”