GARDINER — Christine Landes, who has served as Gardiner’s city manager for 2 1/2 years, resigned.

Gardiner City Manager Christine Landes during a February 2020 City Council goal-setting session at the Gardiner Public Library. The council, which met briefly in executive session on Wednesday, voted 7-0-1 to accept her resignation, effective immediately. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

The Gardiner City Council, which met briefly in executive session on Wednesday, voted 7-0-1 to accept her resignation, effective immediately.

“I would like to thank our city manager for her work over the last 2 1/2 years,” Mayor Patricia Hart said following the vote. “I think the city has accomplished a lot of important projects under her guidance. We thank her for that and wish her well.”

At-large Councilor Penny Sergent abstained from the vote, saying she didn’t want to see Landes go, but didn’t want Landes to stay if she didn’t want to.

Reached at her home following the vote, Landes said resigning was the right thing for her to do now. She has been on personal leave since March 2.

“I guess it was just personal,” Landes said, who submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday.

Landes said she has had no conflicts with the City Council.

During her time in Gardiner, Landes hired two economic development directors, a public works director and a fire chief, and oversaw the citywide conversion to LED street lights. She also worked to acquire several grants, stabilize property taxes and oversaw capital improvements at City Hall. In addition, she led the city during the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that accompanied it.

When Landes was hired, she signed a three-year contract, which ends June 30. Under the contract, the City Council had the option before July 1, 2020, to renew and extend the agreement for an additional two years.

Hart said Wednesday that the council did not exercise that option, because it wanted to wait until it completed a job review. That review was done in the fall. Hart said she could not comment on the review.

Hart said the City Council had no conflicts with Landes.

The City Council agenda cited consultations with city solicitor regarding the legal rights and duties of the council as the reason for the executive session.

The year after Landes was hired in Gardiner, she became president of the executive committee of the Maine Municipal Association, an organization that advocates for the interests of cities and towns across Maine.

In 2019 and 2020, she was treated for breast cancer.

Hart confirmed a week ago that Landes was on personal leave and said she could not answer questions about that.

She said that Gardiner Public Library Director Anne Davis and Gardiner Police Chief James Toman are designated to fill in for the city manager.

Reached at home last Wednesday, Landes declined comment.

Following the vote to accept Landes’ resignation, the City Council voted unanimously to appoint Anne Davis to serve in the capacity of city manager. Davis held that same position for 17 months after the departure of Scott Morelli in 2017 to accept the city manager position in South Portland and August 2018, when Landes started work in Gardiner.

Hart said the City Council is expected to meet in coming weeks to start its search for the next city manager.

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