SKOWHEGAN — Longtime Skowhegan road commissioner and downtown restaurant owner Greg Dore spent his first day on the job Wednesday as interim town manager.
Dore, 58, said he likes the job so much he will apply for the permanent position left vacant last week when John Doucette Jr. abruptly resigned. With a year still left on his contract, Doucette recently announced he would retired Feb. 28, but abruptly stepped down last Thursday for personal reasons.
Dore said Wednesday that he thought about applying for the position previously and “when this arose I said I’d like the opportunity at least to try.”
The Board of Selectmen appointed Dore interim manager following an executive session Tuesday night. The vote was 3-1, with Chairwoman Betty Austin absent and Selectman Paul York the lone dissenter. York declined to comment on his vote Wednesday.
Selectmen also appointed Skowhegan fire Capt. Shawn Howard as acting fire chief. Howard, 35, has been with the department for 18 years.
Veteran Skowhegan Fire Chief Tom Keene was dismissed by Doucette Dec. 30. Doucette said Keene, a double leg amputee, could no longer perform the duties of fire chief.
Keene said he was the department’s administrator and no longer an active firefighter. He said he may hire a lawyer to fight the dismissal. Doucette said his resignation last week, the day after the story about Keene broke, had nothing to do with his handling of Keene’s dismissal.
Dore, who lives in East Madison, said with 22 years experience as road commissioner dealing with the largest of the town’s municipal budgets at about $1.2 million each year that he is familiar with municipal government enough to be town manager. The overall town budget this year is about $8 million.
He said he sees the job of town manager more as a lateral move than an ascending one. Dore said he expressed his interest in serving as town manager to selectmen individually leading up to Tuesday’s vote.
The job will be advertised on the town’s website and in Maine newspapers. Doucette was hired in 2008 at an annual salary of $63,000.
“I’m aware of the needs of the taxpayers,” Dore said. “I deal with public complaints more than a town manager does — our jobs actually overlap — and I’ve had the opportunity to know about each department and their needs.”
The Highway Department has a staff of 10, Dore said, and the town government has about 75 employees.
He said he will be able to do both jobs for a time, but not permanently. In other towns, including neighboring Norridgewock, the town manager is also the road commissioner.
Dore, a graduate of Skowhegan Area High School, attended the University of Arizona and Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute and served in the U.S. Air Force.
He and his wife, Paula, and four sons bought the landmark Old Mill Pub on the Kennebec River in Skowhegan in 2012. Dore also is chairman of a group proposing a whitewater rafting park in the Kennebec River Gorge, which runs through downtown and past the pub.