HALLOWELL — The city’s Public Works foreman who was charged in July with drunken driving resigned from his job last week, after about three months of paid time off.

Christopher Buck, who has worked for the city for nearly a decade, resigned Oct. 19, City Manager Gary Lamb confirmed on Tuesday.

Buck, who was on a previously approved vacation when he was charged with operating under the influence on July 3, used sick time from July 22 to Sept. 23, and vacation time for the remainder of that period. He had accrued more than 400 hours of sick time, not counting a considerable amount of vacation time and some comp time, according to Lamb.

“This community and this union contract has been very generous in allowing both vacation and sick time to accrue, almost without limit,” said Lamb.

Buck was paid his normal salary during the leave, which according to the current budget is $60,902 annually. That amounts to about $17,000 for the 14 weeks he was not working.

Lamb said the city also paid Buck $5,745 for unused vacation time after his resignation, but could not say exactly how much time had accrued at the time of his departure. He said the city did not pay anything beyond the amount of time that Buck had earned and accrued.


“It’s not anything over what we owed him in paid time,” said Lamb. “There is no severance agreement.”

At the time of his arrest, Buck’s blood alcohol content was 0.26%, over three times the legal limit of 0.08%, according to Hallowell police Chief Scott MacMaster. He was taken to the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta and released on a $1,500 unsecured bail within a week of the arrest.

Buck is scheduled to appear in court in March, Lamb said.

Buck’s driver’s license has not been suspended since his arrest. The state notified Buck on Sept. 29 that it would suspend his license starting Oct. 20, according to Christopher Ireland, director of driver license services for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Buck appealed the suspension on Oct. 5 and a hearing has not yet been scheduled. He remains able to drive in the meantime.

The city manager said he did not know whether Buck would have been allowed to return to work at any point during his paid leave.

“Both sides just accepted it,” said Buck. “He had a serious medical situation that needed attention. We never had to have that pointed discussion. He knew he needed help and he accepted it.”


Lamb said that Buck resigned voluntarily, and that he was not forced to do so. He declined to provide a copy of Buck’s resignation letter before press time, saying that the town’s attorney argued it is confidential.

“(Buck) realized that he wanted a work environment that is less 24/7 in terms of phone calls,” said Lamb.

Looking ahead, Lamb said the city will soon begin searching for a new foreman.

“We will be advertising and we will move quickly on this,” he said, “because plowing season isn’t far away.”

Buck was one of four public works employees, and reports to Lamb, who is also the road commissioner and public works director. The department is responsible for maintaining and repairing 31 lane miles of municipal streets and plowing, sanding and salting about 43 lane miles of municipal and state-aid roads during the winter, according to the city website.

Lamb said he and other city officials wish the best for Buck, who began working as the city’s public works foreman in 2013.

“He did a lot of good work for the city,” said Lamb. “We certainly wish him the best of health and the best in his other endeavors.”

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