Patti Dubois is returning June 29 as city clerk in Waterville after leaving the position recently to become city clerk, treasurer and tax collector in Augusta. Morning Sentinel file

After a week of working as Augusta’s new city clerk, treasurer and tax collector, Patti Dubois told officials the job wasn’t a good fit for her and she’s returning to her role as city clerk in Waterville.

Augusta City Manager William Bridgeo said Dubois told him Monday she had underestimated the demands of the job which, in Augusta, includes oversight of city clerk, treasury and tax collection functions, while her job in Waterville was exclusively the role of city clerk.

He said Dubois also came to Augusta City Center just as it was reopening to the public and experiencing “an onslaught of treasury customers.”

“At the same time we have received over a thousand requests in the past couple of weeks for absentee ballots for the July election — many times what would normally be expected — and trying to prepare for a consolidated election with an anticipated shortage of election workers,” Bridgeo said. “Patti is the consummate professional worried that in this new position she would fail to live up to her self-imposed standards.”

Bridgeo’s explanation, which came a day after Waterville officials announced Dubois would be returning to her old job, offered new insight into the differences between the two city hall operations and the unique challenges facing staff at each municipality.

In Augusta, Bridgeo said the treasury aspect of the job, other than perhaps around election time when the city clerk part of the job is more demanding, accounts for the majority of the work of the job.

Dubois did not return multiple calls for comment on Monday or Tuesday.

In an interview last month regarding taking the Augusta job, she had said the tax collection part of the Augusta job would be new to her as it was not part of her duties in Waterville.

In her resignation letter to Bridgeo, she wrote “Simply put, I don’t feel that I am the right fit for the position.”

She said she will work for two more weeks, until June 26. In that time, Dubois said, she would organize the issuance of absentee ballots and work with Tracy Roy, the city’s deputy finance director, treasurer, tax collector and city clerk, to discuss logistics for the upcoming July 14 primary election. And she praised her short-term co-workers in Augusta City Center, noting “they work tirelessly under very extreme conditions every day and should be recognized for their efforts.”

Bridgeo said that Dubois reported to him the office was understaffed, so in response he added $68,000 in funding for a currently vacant clerk’s position. That is a position not initially funded in his budget proposal for next year.

Bridgeo said he plans to offer the job to the No. 2 candidate for the job when Dubois was hired, a person he said “I know to be a capable candidate.”

He said if that person takes the job, he hopes they could start as soon as they give proper notice to their current employer, possibly in time to join the city before the next election. If that person does not take the job, the city would likely have to begin the recruitment process for it anew, Bridgeo said, and possibly bring on some temporary help.

Augusta had been without a city clerk since the late Barbara Geaghan left after only a few months on the job early this year. Bridgeo said he could not discuss why she left the post.

Dubois was Augusta’s third city clerk since Barbara Wardwell, who was in the job for 12 years, retired in 2016.

In recent years when the city has advertised the city clerk’s position, Bridgeo said it has only gotten an applicant pool of three or four candidates. He said he doesn’t think Augusta’s experience in that is different from other municipalities.

Bridgeo noted the job requires applicants to be a certified Maine clerk.

Waterville City Manager Michael Roy, who said he is happy Dubois is returning, speculated that the management structure between Augusta and Waterville is very different. He said Dubois was used to the Waterville structure where her position was on a management level.

In Augusta, Bridgeo said the city clerk is the head of a bureau — but not a department — and reports to Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager. In Waterville, Dubois is on the inner circle of Roy’s management team.

When Dubois was chosen for the Augusta position, Bridgeo said she would start at the top of the city’s pay scale for city clerk, treasurer and tax collector — $94,000 a year. In Waterville, she was paid $78,000 a year, which was slated to increase to $82,000 on July 1. Roy said Monday she will receive that same pay, including the July 1 increase.

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