Wiscasset Town Manager John O’Connell will resign effective in June, citing “family and other commitments.”
The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen accepted his resignation with regret Tuesday, Feb. 4.
O’Connell offered to continue as town manager until the first week of June, in order to prepare for the annual town meeting by referendum June 9.
“I have appreciated the strong support of the board for the past 12 months and have found the job to be both interesting and challenging,” O’Connell said in his resignation letter. “During that time I think it is safe to say that I have learned a lot about the town and its inhabitants.
“I am pleased that Wiscasset is experiencing a number of positive developments and wish the town a prosperous future, but I have a number of family and other commitments, including vice president of Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation, that need my overdue attention.”
Selectman Benjamin Rines told O’Connell: “We are so much better off by having you serve as town manager.”
Board Chair Judy Colby told O’Connell she has enjoyed working with him.
O’Connell was originally an interim town manager in Wiscasset in 2002, then returned as interim town manager in February 2019. The selectmen named him town manager in June 2019.
O’Connell has a long history of public service, including time as a county administrator, county commissioner, and selectman in Boothbay Harbor.
Airport hangar lease
The selectmen voted to terminate a lease with Don Falvey for property at the municipal airport.
The vote followed a report from Rick Tetrev, manager of the airport, who told the selectmen he had discussed the issue with a Federal Aviation Administration compliance officer.
According to Tetrev, the compliance officer directed the town to terminate the lease immediately.
In 2005, Falvey LLC entered into an agreement with the town to lease approximately 105,608 square feet of undeveloped land for the purpose of building aircraft hangers.
The rate was to be $13,623.43 per year for 20 years. The FAA approved the agreement, according to Tetrev. Since requesting a reduction in 2008, Falvey has been paying only $1,000 per year. He did not build the hangars.
O’Connell will notify Falvey of the termination. The vote was 4-0-1, with Selectman Kim Andersson abstaining.
The selectmen approved the following new business licenses: Creature Comfort Flowers, 236 Bath Road; Eagle ATM LLC, 49 Water St.; The Hair Garage, 20 Sukie Lane; The Hot Spot Diner, 277 Bath Road (formerly Ship’s Chow Hall); and In a Silent Way, 65 Main St.
The selectmen voted to place articles on the warrant for town meeting that will determine whether the town “opts in” to allow medical and recreational marijuana businesses.
O’Connell told the selectmen that Kathleen and Thomas Bryant are suing the town for granting a fireworks license to Big Al’s Fireworks Outlet.
Thomas Bryant attempted to explain the suit, but the selectmen declined to discuss the issue.
The town received three bids for auditing services. The selectmen directed O’Connell to select the most qualified bidder.