The Ogunquit Select Board has reprimanded Town Manager Patricia Finnigan and decided, at least for now, not to renegotiate her contract before it expires in February.

In a letter of reprimand dated Nov. 10, board members warned Finnigan she could face further disciplinary action if she doesn’t address their concerns about failure to follow through on public records requests, communicating critical information to the board and providing accurate information about town contracts, among other issues.

However, board members are not acting to remove her from the post and issued a statement describing Finnigan as a valuable asset to the town, and saying the performance deficiencies do not negate her strengths and the good she has done in her position.

“We understand that you have a full plate as town manager for the Town of Ogunquit and this last year has been incredibly busy with many competing demands on your time. These, however, are some issues that need to be prioritized by you because of their potential negative impact on the town and failure to correct these issues immediately may result in further disciplinary action,” the board wrote in the letter.

In the letter, the board said Finnigan was able to provide sufficient information to respond to some concerns from board members, but deficiencies remained. The board did not elaborate on the concerns that were raised during executive sessions held to discuss confidential personnel information.

The board cited five specific issues in its letter of reprimand: not always following through on public records requests as required by the state Freedom of Access Act; failing to ensure that confidential information is not provided when responding to an FOAA request; failing to provide information to Select Board members upon request and in a timely manner; not always, or not always in a timely manner, communicating critical information to the Select Board, including lawsuits against the town or when overspending may occur on major projects approved by the board; and not always providing the Select Board with accurate information pertaining to town contracts.

The Select Board on Wednesday released a statement outlining the steps it has taken in recent months to discuss Finnigan’s performance and to address her contract, which expires on Feb. 13, 2021. Her original contract was set to expire in August, but was extended for six months by the board.

The current contract requires the board to give Finnigan more than 90 days notice if it does not intend to renew her contract or it will be considered a termination without cause, entitling her to a three-month severance package. During a meeting last week, Chairman Heath Ouellette asked if any board members wanted to make a motion to renegotiate the contract before Feb. 13, but no motion was made.

“While this means, at this time, the Select Board does not intend to negotiate a new contract, this is not a termination without cause nor a termination with cause. Since we are limited on what we can say regarding discussions in executive session, the practical effect is that Patrician Finnigan remains our Town Manager,” the board said in the statement.

While the Select Board is not removing Finnigan from her position, the public statements leave open the question about her long-term future in Ogunquit.

“If no contract negotiations occur and no further employment actions are taken between now and then, (Finnigan) will continue to be the town manager even without a contract after Feb. 12, 2021,” board members said in their statement.

Finnigan was hired as town manager in 2017 to fill a position left vacant by the resignation of the previous town manager, Thomas Fortier, who had been charged with theft and official oppression after allegedly pocketing parking fees collected from visitors. Finnigan had more than 25 years of municipal experience and had previously been town manager in Camden, assistant city manager in Portland and city manager in Auburn.

During her time in Ogunquit, Finnigan had to defend her firing of fire Chief Mark O’Brien, who filed an administrative appeal in court. A judge ruled Finnigan did not violate O’Brien’s due process and the firing was backed by evidence, but the termination set off months of contentious debate in the small town that included attempts to remove Select Board members from office.

Last year, Select Board member Rick Dolliver filed a lawsuit against the town alleging Finnigan failed to provide records he had requested under the Freedom of Access Act.

Finnigan said in a statement to the Press Herald on Wednesday that she is continuing to work for the community.

“The Select Board did not extend my contract beyond Feb. 13 at this time. I am honored to be the Town Manager of Ogunquit and serve the people of Ogunquit, and will continue to work each day with the Select Board, the staff, and the Town Committees to accomplish great things for our community,” Finnigan wrote.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Select Board said the meetings with Finnigan included discussions about the future and how the board and town manager can work together efficiently and effectively. It acknowledged that expectations for Finnigan have varied with different members and have not always been clear.

“We do want to thank Pat for her service to the Town of Ogunquit these past three years, during a critical time of transition, and while facing a number of very challenging issues in Ogunquit. She works hard for the Town of Ogunquit,” the statement said. “The Select Board believes our Town Manager is a valuable asset to our town and we want her to succeed. In fact, we believe, through continued discussions and by working together as one team, we can be successful for the betterment of our community. Overall, we are looking forward to seeing continued positive results moving forward.”


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