WATERVILLE — The city is having a difficult time finding qualified candidates to fill two new positions — assistant city manager and fire inspector — so City Manager Steve Daly wants to increase the pay for the assistant manager post and create a deputy fire chief position that would also be responsible for inspections.

Daly said the city had budgeted $68,000 for an assistant city manager, an amount he said is not much more than what Waterville pays its administrative assistants. The city is not drawing qualified applicants, and Daly said he thinks it is because of the pay.

He recommended to the City Council earlier this week the pay be increased to at least $90,000.

Daly said three people applied for the fire inspector’s position, one of whom was offered the job but turned it down because he said he would be taking a substantial pay cut.

“I think that we should make sort of a bold move at this point and create the position of deputy fire chief, that would be a nonunion position, assign the role of fire inspector or fire marshal to that deputy and get that job done,” Daly told the council Tuesday. “And at the same time, provide fire Chief (Shawn) Esler with the sorely needed backup position that will take a load off his back and keep him here for much longer than we might otherwise if we keep just dumping things on him.”

Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, appeared stunned at the suggestion of paying more than $90,000 for an assistant city manager, a new position created in the budget the council passed last summer. He asked Daly if the city had looked at pay scales for similar positions elsewhere.


“We don’t have hard data on that,” Daly said, “but a low 90s pay rate I’m sure would be attractive, and it also fits in our hierarchy of salaries.”

“Well, I don’t care if it’s attractive,” Morris responded. “I want to know what other people are paying, because if it’s more. …”

“I will have that data when I come back to you,” Daly said.

The city has searched widely for an assistant city manager, placing advertisements on municipal job boards and with groups, such as the International City/County Management Association.

The person hired for the position would support Daly and be a top supervisor in the city. Daly said in August the assistant city manager would help free up the city manager to do more economic development, work on updating the comprehensive plan and work with the Central Maine Growth Council to market Waterville, not just within Maine but more broadly.

Daly has been city manager in Waterville for about 10 months, having been hired by the City Council on Jan. 5. He succeeded Michael Roy, who had served in the role for 16 years.

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