WATERVILLE — A  municipal management contractor with more than 30 years experience as a chief administrative officer is on tap to become Waterville’s new city manager.

The City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to consider approving a 3-year contract for Stephen J. Daly, of North Reading, Massachusetts, to fill the job held for more than 16 years by Michael Roy, who retired at midnight Thursday.

Stephen J. Daly Submitted photo

Daly, 73, is a graduate of University of Maine, Orono, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1971 and a master’s in education in 1973. He also took a program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

If hired, Daly would start his job as city manager Jan. 11 at a salary of $125,000 in the first year of his 3-year contract, and $130,000 in the second year. The salary includes benefits.

Daly said in a phone interview Saturday from his North Reading home that he is familiar with Waterville and central Maine and he and his wife, Leslie, enjoy the lifestyle here.

“My in-laws lived in North Anson over 20 years, so we traveled back and forth between here and there many, many times over that period and stopped and stayed in Waterville.”

While a student at University of Maine, Daly played football against Colby College.

“I’ve always seen Waterville as similar to the town that my wife and I grew up in in Massachusetts (Ipswich), so there’s a familiarity with it, and just being acquainted with it over a long period of time,” he said. “It felt comfortable to me.”

Daly has served as town manager in Bedford, New Hampshire, as well as Salem, New Hampshire. He also was town administrator in Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1980-84, and in North Reading from 1989-95. His extensive resume says he has served as a regional and statewide Homeland Security program administrator, multi-state government collective procurement entrepreneur, management consultant and motorsports entrepreneur, and municipal management contractor.

Daly said Saturday that he has kept abreast of revitalization efforts in Waterville, as well as activities by Colby and Thomas colleges, and the city is clearly on a strong rebound from where it was some 20 or 30 years ago. He sees working in Waterville as a good opportunity for him to combine his background and experience in a way that can benefit Waterville.

He and his wife enjoy the pace of life in Maine, which is more laid back, he said, than that of outer Boston.

“Things are very hectic in metro Boston right now and the communities around the city are changing rapidly and we want a different lifestyle than what it’s changing to here,” he said.

He and his wife plan to move to Waterville in the near future — the city charter and his contract require he live in the city.

“We’re looking forward to being part of the community, and really engaged,” he said.

Daly wants to get to know people in Waterville and understand their needs, desires and hopes for the future. That, he said, has to be the guiding light for what he does, especially on the economic development front.

“I want to spend a lot of time in and with the community, with the residents, with the collegiate community, the business community,” he said. “I want to get to know people. I want them to know me.”

In a separate vote Tuesday, the council is slated to consider keeping Roy on as a city employee until the end of January to help with the transition. Roy’s job as city manager officially ended at midnight Thursday.

Roy said Thursday that Daly was chosen from among 70 people who applied for the job.

“Steve emerged as the best candidate and I believe he is the best candidate from the final group,” he said.

Roy said he was not involved in the negotiations with Daly, who signed the proposed 3-year contract and sent it to Roy.

The city formed a city manager search committee that included City Solicitor William A. Lee III, department heads and councilors, and hired a consultant from the Maine Municipal Association to help with the process. Roy said 70 people applied for the job and that number was reduced to 30, then 10, and six were interviewed by a smaller interviewing committee. Two final candidates were identified, including Daly, according to Roy.

“The consultant the city hired was able to cull out a lot of applicants that didn’t have any experience whatsoever in municipal government,” Roy said.

He said Daly stood out as someone who listens, had familiarized himself with the city, and knew about all the revitalization efforts and other work happening in Waterville.

“I think all of us were impressed, when he interviewed, that he had taken the time to study where the city is at and the projects that are underway,” Roy said.

The city manager’s duties include working with all department heads, helping to oversee activities of all those departments, and ensuring they provide services they are supposed to provide, according to Roy. The manager works directly for and with the City Council to make sure the budget the council approves is spent wisely and within the limits approved, he said. The manager also works with the council on policy development decisions and serves as a liaison for the city to all outside agencies.

Mayor-elect Jay Coelho said Thursday that he has had a chance to talk with and exchange emails with Daly and he thinks he is a good fit for the city.

“He’s got some new ideas, he’s got some new energy that we haven’t seen in a while,” Coelho said. “I’m coming in as a new mayor, he’s coming in as a new city manager. We’re going to work hand-in-hand.”

With longtime department heads in place working with Daly, Coelho said he thinks good things will be done in the city over the next few years.

“He’s got the big picture, and how can we make the details work?” Coelho said. “We have to make sure that, A, we’re listening. B, we have some new ideas and not just looking to revitalize one part of the city. Steve’s going to be great. He’s got some experience. Let’s be honest, it really is the department heads that we lean on to make sure that everything is running smoothly.”

Meanwhile, Daly said all the people he has met in Waterville so far, including department heads, have been welcoming.

“Every one of them was just a very genuine-type person who didn’t hold back at all. I think they’re going to be a wonderful team to work with and that includes the City Council.”

Meanwhile, Daly’s resume says he is a “multi-faceted values-based leader with an entrepreneurial track record of innovation, achievement and business growth. Core competencies include leadership, strategic thinking, budget development and financial management, team orientation, staff development, productivity improvement, customer service, community outreach, and systems design and development.”

Daly will attend Tuesday’s council meeting via Zoom. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed via a link on the city’s website, www.waterville-me.gov. Those wanting to take part in the meeting must contact the city clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Tuesday to receive login information. Comment or questions from the public also may be emailed to [email protected]

The administration of oaths of office to councilors Flavia Oliveira, D-Ward 2, Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, and Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, will be given, and a council chairperson elected. The current chairman is Councilor Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7.

In other matters at Tuesday’s meeting, the council is scheduled to consider hiring a consultant to advise the city on solar energy issues, amending the city’s agreement with Pine Tree Waste for fees associated with the transfer station, appointing residents to serve on various boards and committees, and reappointing City Clerk Patti Dubois as registrar of voters. The council also will consider taking a first vote to revise the zoning ordinance to allow Half Pints Daycare LLC to open a daycare center at 155 Kennedy Memorial Drive.


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