WATERVILLE — The City Council had a busy night Tuesday as members voted 6-0 to hire Stephen J. Daly as the new city manager and welcomed the city’s 53rd mayor, Jay Coelho.

Stephen J. Daly Submitted photo

A  municipal management contractor with more than 30 years experience as a chief administrative officer, Daly succeeds Michael Roy, who was city manager more than 16 years and retired at midnight Thursday.

The council Tuesday approved a three-year contract for Daly, of North Reading, Massachusetts.

“Thank you very, very much,” Daly told councilors. “I’m honored by your decision, and I’m eager — very eager — to join the team.”

Daly, 73, is a graduate of the 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.

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

Tuesday’s council meeting was held virtually and City Clerk Patti Dubois earlier in the day administered the oath of office to Coelho at City Hall, with his family present.

Meanwhile, Daly said in phone interview Saturday that he has been familiar with Waterville for many years and while a student at University of Maine he played football against Colby College.

City Clerk Patti Dubois administers the oath of office to Mayor-elect Jay Coelho with his family present Tuesday at City Hall in Waterville. Photo by Sarah Bowen, executive assistant to the mayor

“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.”

He and his wife, Leslie, plan to move to Waterville in the near future.

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 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 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.

Councilor Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7, who was unanimously reelected chairman Tuesday, abstained from voting on Daly’s contract, noting that as everyone knows, he applied for the city manager’s job and was not involved in the interviewing process for Daly or the other candidates. Thomas said he wanted to be clear that he supports the council’s decision and the new city manager will have his full support.

Former Waterville City Manager Michael Roy

In a separate vote Tuesday, the council voted 7-0 to keep Roy on as a city employee until Jan. 31 to help with the city manager transition. Roy said Thursday that Daly was chosen from among 70 people who applied for the job and that 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 the 70 applications received were reduced to 30, then 10, and six were interviewed by a smaller interviewing committee.

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.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, Dubois administered the oath of office to councilors Flavia Oliveira, D-Ward 2, Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, and Claude Francke, D-Ward 6.

In other matters, the council voted 6-1 to hire CES as a consultant to advise the city on solar energy issues. Councilor Rick Foss, R-Ward 5, was the lone dissenter. Councilors also voted 7-0 to amend the city’s agreement with Pine Tree Waste for fees associated with the transfer station, 7-0 to appoint residents to serve on various boards and committees, and 7-0 to reappoint Dubois as registrar of voters. The council also took a first, 7-0 vote, to revise the zoning ordinance to allow Half Pints Daycare LLC to open a day care center at 155 Kennedy Memorial Drive.

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