AUGUSTA — City Manager William Bridgeo is up for a new, three-year contract Thursday.

City councilors met with Bridgeo in a closed-door session two weeks ago to discuss the proposed new contract, and both Bridgeo and Mayor William Stokes said it was a positive discussion.

Stokes said he anticipates Bridgeo’s contract will be extended.

“It’s fair to say those councilors present (at the previous closed-door session) were unanimous in supporting the extension of the manager’s contract,” Stokes said Tuesday. “We’ve been pleased with his job. Obviously he’s very attentive to details. And one of his strengths is he has assembled what I consider to be the best administrative team in the state. What he’s been able to do, with the help of councils over the years, is assemble that hard-working team. I think he’s deserving of an extension.”

Bridgeo will make the same $110,700 salary he has made each of the last two years in the first year of the new contract. In the second and third years of the contract, he will receive a raise if councilors give other non-union city employees a cost of living wage. He would get the same raise they get.

Bridgeo said in 2012 non-union city employees received a 2 percent raise.

The 63-year-old Bridgeo started with the city in April of 1998.

“I love my job,” Bridgeo said. “I feel blessed to be in this position in this community. I told the mayor and council I think the city is very fortunate to have them as a group, because they work well together. I’ve been doing this 35 years now, and I think this is the best working relationship I’ve had. I’m fortunate to be healthy and in a good place with my family life and am looking forward to doing this another three years.”

Like Stokes, Bridgeo also praised city department heads and other staff, which he said is a factor in his desire to remain in the job.

“I have been given the latitude to hire department heads and city staff strictly on the basis of merit, there has never been an attempt (by councilors) to politicize the hiring process,” he said. “As a consequence, Augusta has an extraordinary team of city employees. It’s a real pleasure to come to work everyday.”

The contract continues terms which provide Bridgeo with a city sport utility vehicle. It also allows him to cash out a couple of weeks of unused leave time.

The contract renewal goes to councilors for a vote at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• Hold a public hearing on a proposal to redevelop Market Square in downtown Augusta, improving and enlarging the park there and moving bathrooms and a bus depot at the site now across Water Street to a spot near the head of the Kennebec River Rail Trail. The project will be funded with a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and $213,000 from city downtown Tax Increment Financing District funds;

• consider approving a one-year contract with a Teamsters local which represents nine public safety dispatchers, including 2 percent raises. Bridgeo said the cost to the city of providing the raises will be offset by changes in the employees’ health insurance plan, so the contract will be “cost neutral” for the city;

• discuss a consultant’s recommendations regarding proposals from Maine Natural Gas and Summit Natural Gas of Maine to provide city, school, court and county facilities in Augusta with natural gas;

• consider authorizing an easement across the city’s Eastside Boat Landing and Westside Waterfront Park to Maine Natural Gas, to allow the company to bring its pipeline across the Kennebec River there. The city will receive $50,000 for the easement, funds which would go into the general fund, and;

• meet in a closed-door session to discussion potential pending litigation.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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