Tony LaPlante, who has been Gardiner’s Public Works director for the last seven years, has accepted the position of deputy Public Works director in Augusta, starting March 23.

Tony LaPlante, Gardiner’s public works director for the past seven years, will start a job in Augusta next month. Kennebec Journal photo by Jessica Lowell

“It’s a new challenge in a bigger community,” LaPlante said Wednesday from his office at the Gardiner Public Works garage. “I grew up in Augusta, I lived there probably 50 years. It’s my hometown.”

In Gardiner, LaPlante oversees public works and buildings and grounds.

He has overseen infrastructure projects for Gardiner, including roads and sidewalks, the storm water system upgrades and parks and cemeteries. He also completed two projects with the Maine Department of Transportation under its Mutual Partnerships Initiatives program.

In the last few years, LaPlante has been the city’s liaison to DOT’s bridge replacement project, under which both the Bridge Street and Maine Avenue bridges are being replaced, and the Water Street intersections, where Maine Avenue becomes Church Street and Bridge Street becomes Brunswick Avenue are being redesigned.

“I feel this department is in good hands now,” LaPlante said. “We’ve made big strides in increasing productivity. We’re doing more projects in-house, which saves the taxpayers money and we have good crews doing the projects.”

Between 2006 and 2013, LaPlante was the public works foreman and supervisor for the city of Hallowell, where he did many of the same things he did in Gardiner, but on a smaller scale.

From 1995 to 2006, he was the superintendent of the Kennebec Heights Golf Course.

While he will be a deputy public works director, it will be for a city that is operationally four times the size of Gardiner.

“They are getting a great employee,” Gardiner City Manager Christine Landes said. “As far as the bridge project goes, I can’t thank him enough.”

Landes has posted an ad for the position with a March 16 application deadline, with review of those applications and interviews to be scheduled for the following week. She said she hopes to have someone in the position by mid- to late-April.

“Tony has been amazing. He brings all that knowledge to the table,” she said. “If there are any issues out in the community, he lets me know.”

Lesley Jones, Augusta’s public works director, did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

LaPlante will fill the vacancy created when Jerry Dostie accepted a position outside city government.

In Gardiner, LaPlante was earning $66,790. In Augusta, his starting salary will be $89,648.

In the last couple of years, Gardiner’s budget request included a proposal to bring LaPlante’s salary in line with the salaries of Public Works directors in comparable sized communities, but the City Council declined to take that action.


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