SKOWHEGAN — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night voted 5-0 to accept the resignation of police Chief Donald Bolduc, then promptly hired him back, also unanimously, in a maneuver that allows Bolduc to collect retirement benefits from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System.

“Thank you for your service,” board Chairman Donald Skillings said after the first vote. “You’re good, chief. Welcome back,” he said a minute later, after the second vote.

Tuesday was Bolduc’s 25th anniversary as a full-time police officer in Maine, the date of his eligibility for retirement benefits. His official retirement date is Aug. 31. The official rehiring date is the next day, Sept. 1.

“I’ve absolutely enjoyed my time in Skowhegan,” Bolduc, 52, said by phone before Tuesday’s meeting. “As of right now I’d like to continue on and see what happens.”

The move also required the board to sign off on a new personnel policy to coordinate conditions for an employee who is rehired after state retirement. According to the policy, an employee who is rehired after filing for state retirement benefits will receive 95 percent of the pay he or she received before retiring. The employee’s rehire date will serve as their new anniversary date for purposes of pay increases and vacation accruals.

An employee who is rehired under the stated policy conditions may be employed by the town for a maximum of five additional years.

After some discussion on issues such as seniority of a retired employee if there are layoffs, and some union-related questions, the board voted 4-1 to keep the 95 percent language in the policy. Skillings, who said the questions will be addressed at a later date, was the lone dissenter.

In a letter to selectmen dated Aug. 18, Town Manager Christine Almand said that, as Bolduc’s supervisor, she recommends the board rehire him.

“He has made many improvements within the department and is well liked by many citizens and business owners,” Almand wrote. “I would like to see him be able to continue with his work toward an improved police department. I respectfully request that you reappoint him as police chief effective Sept. 1, 2016.”

Bolduc has restructured the Skowhegan Police Department since becoming chief in 2015, bringing the roster up to the recommended 16-member department, including a full-time hospital resource officer, for the first time in a decade. Bolduc’s starting salary was $65,520 in 2014. He received a raise July 1, bringing his salary to $68,536, plus benefits. He said the move Tuesday night will save the town some money by not having to pay into the Maine Public Employees Retirement system.

Bolduc said he came to Skowhegan as a patrol officer in 2013 from Millinocket, where the closing of the local paper mill forced cuts in municipal government, including the Police Department, where he was chief, and sent half of the population of 8,600 to other cities and towns looking for jobs.

“Coming to Skowhegan was like I stepped back in time 25 years, because Millinocket had a similar police department, the same size, very proactive and a lot going on,” he said. “I came down here originally to become a happy patrolman.”

Bolduc, who had been acting chief since the end of July 2015 when then-Chief Ted Blais abruptly resigned, was named chief in a unanimous vote of selectmen in August. In August 2013, he became deputy chief when Dan Summers left to become public safety director in Lincoln.

Blais had been chief since June 2013, replacing Michael Emmons.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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