PRESQUE ISLE — The larger municipalities in central Aroostook County started the new year with selecting officers and welcoming members elected in November.
In Presque Isle, veteran Councilor Richard Scott was elected as the City Council chairman earlier this week. Ron McPherson, who was elected in November to the seven-member panel, also was placed in the deputy chairman’s seat by his fellow councilors.
McPherson, Dana Lougee and Frank Bemis were administered the oath of office during the organizational meeting Monday.
The council reappointed city employees, but the city clerk, who had been in her job just six months, was not returned to her job.
Lavenia Bouchard failed to receive the five votes in the affirmative, as required in the charter, to remain in her job.
Four councilors voted to return Bouchard, while three declined to give her their support. Voting for Bouchard were McPherson, Bemis, Lougee and Scott. Voting against were Kathleen White, Roger Thibodeau and Norman Johnson.
According to City Hall officials, the council offered no reason for the apparent dismissal, other than it was the council’s prerogative whether to reappoint city employees. It was noted during the meeting, according to City Hall officials, that Bouchard had received favorable evaluations at the end of her six-month probation period.
In the neighboring city of Caribou, Philip Bennett Jr., a City Council member since 1983, was elected Monday as mayor. Joseph Bouchard, who is in the last year of his first three-year term, was selected as deputy mayor.
In other business, City Manager Richard Matilla presented his 1998 budget to the council. In order to keep the city budget at last year’s level of $5.6 million, Mattila said Thursday that he has asked the council to transfer $123,000 from the surplus account. About $300,000 is expected to be left over from the 1997 operating account, Mattila said.
The added funds are required for the routine costs of doing business, Mattila said.
Workshops between the council and city department heads will begin next week. According to the city charter, a budget must be in place by the third Monday in March.
Also on Monday, in Fort Fairfield, Stephen Ulman and John Manter were sworn in as the newest members of the Town Council. Gary Sirois was re-elected as the council chairman.