SKOWHEGAN — The resignation Monday of Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais was a surprise, town officials said Wednesday.

Blais, 54, submitted a letter of resignation Monday to Town Manager Christine Almand, citing personal and family issues. Almand announced the move during Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting.

“After discussions with him, we decided that yesterday would be his last day so that he may tend to these issues,” Almand told selectmen in her manager’s report Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Almand and acting Police Chief Donald Bolduc said Blais’ departure after slightly more than two years on the job came without warning.

“Was it a surprise? I guess I would say yes,” Almand said. “I wasn’t expecting a resignation on Monday. I didn’t know I was going to be receiving a resignation on Monday.”

Almand said she could not share the details of why Blais left so abruptly.

Bolduc, 51, said he also found out Monday that Blais was leaving that day. “I was surprised,” he said, adding that no discussion about Blais’ leaving had occurred at the close of the workweek on Friday.

Bolduc, who had been deputy police chief since coming to Skowhegan from Millinocket in 2013, said he’s not concerned about taking over, noting that he was police chief in Millinocket before the paper mill there shut down and the town emptied out.

“I’ve been deputy chief and I’ve been here, it’ll be two years in October, so I’m familiar with the workings of the Skowhegan Police Department,” he said.

Blais could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday. Messages left on his cellphone were not returned.

Bolduc said the department is down to 12 officers, including himself. The desired roster is 15 officers.

There are two patrol positions to be filled in the coming weeks, he said. The department has a sergeant, an acting sergeant, a detective and an acting detective, Tim Williams.

Skowhegan hired two officers in June, including Katelyn Treylino, daughter of Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols. Treylino already has attended a police academy in Virginia, so by coming to Skowhegan she is ready to hit the road after some initial local training.

Starting pay according to the police union wage scale is $16.59 per hour for a new officer.

Two Skowhegan police officers are going to Maine’s police academy next month, and two more will be attending the 18-week academy course in January.

Blais took over the chief’s position in June 2013, replacing Michael Emmons. Before that, he’d been police chief and director of public safety at the University of Maine at Farmington since 2005.

The salary of Skowhegan’s police chief in this year’s budget is $65,935.

Almand said she will meet with selectmen soon to discuss the next step in finding a new police chief. She said the position will be posted on websites and in newspapers. A committee will be formed to conduct the hiring process, she said.

“We’ll cast a wide net. It is a department head position, so we’ll be putting it on many different websites within the law enforcement community,” she said. “We’ll try to get it out there the best that we can.”

Bolduc, whose grandparents were from Skowhegan and whose parents were married at Notre Dame de Lourdes church in Skowhegan, said he’s interested in applying for the job once it’s posted. In the meantime, he’ll be running the day-to-day operations at the department.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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