GORHAM — Adam White was sworn in on Tuesday, Sept. 4, to fill the vacancy created by the Aug. 6 resignation of board member Pat Lefebvre.
Chairman Mike Waddell and Jean LeBlanc had voted 2-0 on Aug. 21 to give White conditional approval, pending a check with the town’s attorney to be sure that there would be no conflict of interest with his serving as a part-time firefighter.
Waddell announced at the board’s meeting later that day that counsel had seen no problem with his serving on the Gorham Fire Department, and he was sworn in in time to participate in interviewing
candidates for the town manager position. His appointment ends in March 2019, and White can choose to run for a full three-year term at that time.
Since Mitch Berkowitz of Gray, Maine, only agreed to serve as an interim town manager, several interviews in executive session have been held with candidates to fill the position held by Robin Frost for eight years. She resigned on June 1, one day after her contract expired on May 31. The board had informed her that it would not be renewed.
Berkowitz has become, in effect, a professional interim town manager. He is also serving as the interim town manager in Jackman, Maine, and previously held that post in Naples, Maine. Earlier in his career, he was the full-time town manager in two other Maine towns — Bridgeton and Gray — as well as Colchester, Vt., and Berlin.
Once White was sworn in, he jumped right into the board’s ongoing work flow.
The day after being sworn in, Wednesday, Sept. 5, he joined Waddell and LeBlanc in a posted field tour to the town’s current snow storage area and the “inert debris hill,” a.k.a. “the dirt pile.” Berkowitz, Public Works Department head Buddy Holmes, CMA engineers, code enforcement officer John Scarinza who also assists the town manager, spokesperson for concerned abutters Helen Beausejour, and others were also on the informative site visit.
Back at its June 11 meeting, the board voted unanimously that it would take no physical action on the property between the dirt pile and Main Street (Route 16) without first calling a public hearing.
At his last meeting, Lefebvre learned that the town’s assessors, KRT had reviewed sales information after the revaluation period and recommended a 40 percent reduction in values in Cascade Flats, including River Street. Assessing clerk Michelle Lutz provided the board with information on past and current values. KRT concluded, however, that no reduction at this time would be justified in the Cascade Hill area.
The three selectmen on board during the revaluation period — chairman Terry Oliver, Lefebvre and Waddell — several times expressed their belief that KRT had not taken into account the various negative factors in the Flats neighborhood that continue to hold down the value of residential properties.
Mrs. Buelah Johnson of Lancaster Road, who at age 99 has been determined to be the town’s oldest resident, has received the historic Boston Post Cane. According to town clerk/tax collector Carol Porter, her son, Dan, picked up the handsome cane at town hall and then gave it himself to his mother, believing that she would find a formal presentation ceremony too tiring to enjoy.