FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday appointed 10 people to the police chief search committee, including Town Manager Richard Davis and District Attorney Andrew Robinson.

The others are former Farmington and Sanford police Chief Tom Jones, Selectmen Matthew Smith and Michael Fogg, University of Maine at Farmington President Edward Serna, pastor/banker Ryan Goding, Wilton police Chief Heidi Wilcox, retired Maine Criminal Justice Academy Director John Rogers and resident Pamela Poisson.

Farmington Chief of Police Jack Peck Jr. will be retiring to take a new position, effective Friday.  Sun Journal File Photo

Police Chief Jack Peck recently announced his retirement to take a position at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. His last day is Friday.

Deputy Chief Shane Cote will serve as interim police chief.

A list of eight names was sent to board members Friday with a recommendation to limit the committee’s size to maintain flexibility and meet COVID-19 restrictions.

Jones’ name was added at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Executive Secretary Nancy Martin said Jones is a former police chief for Sanford and Farmington.

Some board members were surprised that representatives from area victims’ advocacy organizations were not asked to serve.

“I would have liked to see a business person,” Selectman Joshua Bell said.

This is a good representation, Chairman Matthew Smith said. “If we have to shut down again, go to Zoom meetings, I think it will work.”

The position has been advertised in-house and will be published in newspapers Nov. 16 to Dec. 31.

Two in-house applications have been received, Davis texted. He did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

In other business, UMF’s Serna gave several updates, including one on the strategic plan that will include academics, better leveraging of its location and investing in infrastructure.

Enrollment had dropped about 25% over the past decade, which is in step with a decline in Maine high school students graduating, he said.

“We’re a tuition-driven institution,” he said. “That has really hurt. We’ve been operating at a deficit the last couple of years.”

UMF has retained outside consultants to help with the strategic plan which will be delivered in December. They have been impressed at the level of community involvement in the process, but UMF needs to be more engaged with the community, economic development and the region on what it should be, Serna said.

“The trustees want UMF to be ambitious. If we are, they’ll invest in us,” he said.

Nothing was done with UMF’s 2014 strategic plan, Serna said.

“We can’t afford that misstep this time. We want something that’s actionable,” he said.

“In the last few years, the college hasn’t seemed that open to us,” Smith said.

“Something happened a few years ago,” Serna said. “We’re looking at what we can do to get back with the community.”

The No. 1 item to invest in is the fitness and recreation center, Serna said. “That would bring more people to campus.”

“People in the community use that,” Bell said.

Serna suggested a meeting with the board in January to review the new plan.


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