WINSLOW — When Erica LaCroix steps into her new job as the Winslow town manager on Oct. 15, she will be returning to and serving a community that she knows and loves.

Erica LaCroix, the new Winslow town manager, will take up her duties in October. Photo courtesy of Erica LaCroix

LaCroix, 49, currently of Woodstock, Georgia, has roots in Mount Vernon, where she grew up. She attended Maranacook Community High School and received her bachelor of science degree in animal science from Michigan State University. She then went on to earn a master’s of public administration from Norwich University.

Paul Fongemie, interim town manager, said in a phone call Tuesday that LaCroix was selected during an executive session Monday evening to take over the position that longtime Town Manager Michael Heavener held for 14 years. Heavener retired earlier in the summer, but will return in October to smooth LaCroix’s transition into the position.

“It’s incredibly exciting to come full circle and have my public service career culminate right back at home,” LaCroix said in an email on Wednesday. “I spent a lot of time in the Waterville and Winslow areas as a kid since my father lives in neighboring Smithfield, and I have a lot of friends and family in the immediate area. I’m excited to be able to serve a community that I already know and love.”

LaCroix will be the town’s first female manager and has 23 years of experience working on both state and local levels.

LaCroix worked as the chief administrator at the Chesterville County Sheriff’s Office in Chesterfield, Virginia, and was the budget and grant manager at the Virginia Department of Transportation. She initially gained experience in the public sector working as a senior administrator for the Operations and Maintenance Division of the Public Service Department in the City of Lansing, Michigan, and served eight years in the Transportation and Parking Office, five of those in a management capacity.

LaCroix  has experience working with money. She has been the primary budget authority for two agencies and has managed budgets ranging from $25 million to $3.5 billion in grant and capital funding.

She expects the future to be challenging.

“I think government in general and local governments in particular are going to face significant challenges in the immediate coming months,” LaCroix said. “COVID-19 is showing no signs of slowing down and communities continue to have to learn and adjust to the new normal.”

Recognizing the challenges that the pandemic has posed for local economies, she is aware that municipalities are going to have to work hard to provide services that residents depend on.

“The ripple effect spreads through our local economies,” she said. “Businesses are struggling, particularly in the service industries, unemployment is high and tax revenues are down. Municipalities are going to have to get creative about delivering the services that citizens have come to depend upon us to provide and start delivering services that we may not have provided in the past. It’s a brave new world out there.”

Fongemie said previously that having LaCroix step into the position with the experience she has accumulated working different positions in other states and the insight she could share would be assets to the staff at the town office.

“Everybody is excited to have her,” Fongemie said. “She will bring different dynamics to the table … She can provide a different perspective in this all-male environment, and it will be great to get a woman in here that has a background like hers. We look forward to her coming.”

LaCroix said that she too is excited to join the team and the community of the town of Winslow. “I would like to thank the Town Council for putting their faith and trust in me to lead this town, and I look forward to meeting and working with residents and business owners alike.”

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