MACHIAS — Machias began the third month without a town manager this week, and selectmen voted Tuesday to fill a vacancy in the public works department with a working supervisor.
Curt Pooler Sr. will serve in a contract position because there is no public works supervisor position in the town budget, according to Sandra Altmannsberger, the chairman of the Machias selectmen. Pooler began work Monday and his contract runs until July 1. Pooler will be paid $400 a week and his only fringe benefit is scheduled holidays.
Altmannsberger said the position of public works supervisor was cut from the town budget during a budget crunch two years ago. Eliminating the supervisor’s position left three public works employees and one of the three, Leon Davis, retired in October. Altmannsberger said selectmen had a number of reasons for their decision to advertise for a public works supervisor rather than a replacement for Davis.
Former Town Manager Sally Crowley had notified selectmen that she was resigning to take a position as town manager in Winter Harbor. The town manager supervises the public works department and selectmen saw a real need for supervision in the department, Altmannsberger said.
“The people in public works get pulled in all different directions,” she said. “My position is that I shouldn’t have to be telling them to shovel the sidewalk. They should know when they get into work what they have to do.”
When the supervisor’s position was eliminated, it was with the understanding that the position would be re-instituted if there was a need, she said. Selectmen will probably put the position back into their proposed 1998-99 budget, she said.
Pooler served as a Machias selectman for three years and his term expired in June 1997. Altmannsberger said he worked as a contract working supervisor of public works this summer and “the town never looked better.” Pooler was the manager of Machias’ Bay Area Transfer station until selectmen put that out to bid in 1994, she said.
Selectmen voted Tuesday to begin re-advertising for a new town manager on Saturday with applications to close on Jan. 31. Altmannsberger said the first round of applications in October resulted in only one candidate who selectmen felt had the necessary credentials and experience. The applicant did not accept the town’s terms of employment, she said.