WINTHROP — The town is holding a special election Tuesday after the sudden death of councilor Rita Moran in March.

Moran was described by those who knew her as a dedicated worker and respected community member. She was first elected to the Winthrop Town Council in 2017 and reelected for a three-year term in 2019. She was also the longtime chairperson of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee.

The town is now holding a special election for someone to fill the remaining months of her term on the council, which ends in November. Two residents, Michael Czado and James Steele, are running for the open seat.

Czado, 65, works as a senior nurse anesthetist at MaineGeneral Medical Center, and received his master’s of science in nursing anesthesia through the University of New England College of Medicine.

He said he is planning on retiring next year and decided to run now since he will soon have additional time to dedicate to municipal matters.

“I decided that I’d throw my hat in the (ring), and that I’d have more time to devote myself to it,” he said. “I had run maybe 15 to 20 years ago, and now I’m right back to wanting to contribute to the town.”


In terms of town government, he said he would like to strengthen communication between officials and community members and “make sure there is a free flow of information going back and forth between the town council and residents at large.”

He said he hopes to bring a “common sense” approach to the table and work with everyone in a non-partisan manner. Czado also wants to make sure that, in these inflationary times, the town is getting its money’s worth whenever new purchases are made.

Michael Czado, a candidate for the Winthrop Town Council Courtesy of Michael Czado

As far as specific concerns, he said he would like to take a close look at road conditions and road projects.

“Road projects are getting more and more expensive, and as time goes by, of course, the weather is hard on roads in Maine with snow and ice and plowing. And I’d like to know that projects are being put forth in a good manner, which I’m sure they are,” he said, adding that he would like to ensure that the town is applying for all the grants and additional money it can to lessen the taxpayer burden.

Czado said that while he is nonpartisan, he describes himself as a “fiscal conservative.”

“Sometimes you’ve got to spend money,” he said. “I’m not averse to it, but I would like to make sure we get our money’s worth and that things are done in a sensible manner.”


James Steele, who is running against Czado in the election, was not available for an interview by press time, and said multiple unexpected occurrences did not provide him with ample time to speak about his campaign.

The Winthrop city council also recently gave final approval to a $17,815,400 municipal budget, which is a $1,148,710, or 6.89%, increase over the previously adopted budget of $16,666,690.

The bulk of the increases are related to wage increases made by the town in an effort to retain employees. An additional $396,768 was added to administrative services for this budget, a 24.73% increase over the previous year’s budget. The wage increases are down from an earlier version of this year’s budget, which proposed $447,070 in pay increases.

Town Manager Jeffrey Kobrock said wage increases occurred throughout the town.

“We did adjust every wage in the town in an effort to have a strong retention program,” he said.

The town also added a new police officer and a dispatcher, and the library increased their digital lending services. But beyond this, Kobrock said any other increases were part of a “sincere and concentrated effort” to put employee wages back into consistency with the current marketplace.

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