The Damariscotta Board of Selectmen, on Wednesday, July 19, voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Jason Warlick as the town’s police chief.
Town Manager Matt Lutkus had announced his appointment of Warlick as chief in an email to the selectmen Friday, July 14.
“I have tremendous confidence in Jason Warlick,” Lutkus told the selectmen July 19. “For the past several months, as acting chief, he has done an outstanding job.”
The selectmen also approved a three-year contract with Warlick, which is required under the town’s charter. The contract runs from July 19 through June 30, 2020, with a probationary period from July 19 to June 30, 2018 in accordance with the town’s personnel policy.
The town will pay Warlick $55,000 per year with the possibility of a 3.5 percent increase after a performance review two years into the role.
Warlick’s predecessor, Ron Young, received $62,665 per year for the last two years, according to town budget documents.
Warlick will split his time between patrol and his administrative and leadership duties.
The town will pay Warlick four months’ salary if it terminates the contract.
Warlick first joined the Damariscotta Police Department as a reserve officer in June 2011. He became a full-time officer in March 2013 and was promoted to sergeant the following year.
In January, Lutkus appointed Warlick as acting chief after placing Young, the police chief at the time, on administrative leave. Warlick was appointed interim police chief after Young resigned March 3.
“During the past six months, Chief Warlick has clearly demonstrated that he has the skills, knowledge, and leadership ability to manage the law enforcement function in Damariscotta,” Lutkus said in his email to the selectmen July 14. “His job performance as an officer since 2011, and now as acting chief since January, has earned him very positive comments from the community and respect from co-workers both inside and outside of the department.”
Damariscotta resident Jim Campbell expressed concern about the tenures of the three previous police chiefs. Young was the third Damariscotta police chief to resign after being placed on administrative leave in the past six years.
In May 2011, Steve Drake resigned as police chief after almost two months on paid administrative leave. In February 2013, Chad Andrews was placed on administrative leave before being demoted to deputy chief the following month. Andrews worked as deputy chief under Young until he resigned in August 2014.
Both Lutkus and board of selectmen Chair Robin Mayer said they hoped Warlick would remain chief in Damariscotta for a long time.
“My only fear is we’ll lose him to a bigger agency down the road, but I hope not,” Mayer said.
Warlick will take the oath of office at the next selectmen’s meeting, on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the town office.