SKOWHEGAN — Town Manager John Doucette Jr. looked back over his past three years in office and to future challenges this week after the Board of Selectmen voted to give him a positive performance evaluation. The vote was unanimous.

Hired in 2008, Doucette, 60, has one more year left on a three-year contract approved by selectmen in 2009. His annual salary is $63,000, plus benefits. There was no pay raise this year, he said.

“I did not take an increase in salary,” Doucette said Wednesday. “That was at my discretion, because none of the other employees got increases during those years, so I said I would not take an increase.”

Doucette was town manager in Norridgewock for five years. He took over for then-Skowhegan Town Manager Philip Tarr, whose contract was not renewed by selectmen in 2008.

“It has been hard with the economy over the past three years, we’re trying to do more with less — and I think we have done that,” he said Wednesday.

He counted recent successes, noting that he secured work done by the Army National Guard on several projects in town. The soldiers provided manpower and equipment on projects the town would have had to otherwise pay for, he said.

Doucette said he also instituted a code of ethics for all appointed and elected officials and wrote a road ordinance to establish firm guidelines for gravel and pavement requirements for road construction. He also assisted in the town acquiring ownership of several roads for annual upkeep and maintenance.

“The town had been doing those roads for years and years, but there was a liability factor,” he said. “If something had happened and we didn’t own them, we wouldn’t have had authority to be on them.”

Doucette said he also was actively involved in the rebirth of Main Street Skowhegan and was on the hiring committee for Executive Director Jennifer Olsen, who was hired in March 2010.

Looking to the future, Doucette said he wants to get Skowhegan’s Run of River whitewater park developed to help bring new businesses and tourism to town.

“That’s a big factor to the area, economically,” he said. “I would like to see more businesses coming to the downtown and I see that starting to happen. We need to make Skowhegan a place to stop. I think we’re doing that; things are starting to come around.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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