Gardiner Sgt. Todd Pilsbury, left, is seen with then-Police Chief James Toman on March 20, 2019, at a crime scene. Pilsbury has been appointed interim police chief following Toman’s retirement. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

GARDINER — Gardiner elected officials have endorsed filling two city vacancies on a temporary basis.

On Wednesday, the Gardiner City Council voted unanimously to appoint Detective Sgt. Todd Pilsbury as interim chief of police following the retirement of Chief James Toman after 32 years with the Gardiner Police Department.

At the same meeting, councilors also voted unanimously to appoint Dawn Thistle, assistant director of the Gardiner Public Library, as interim library director, following the resignation earlier this month of Justin Hoenke, who started the job in late 2021 after coming from New Zealand.

Gardiner City Manager Andrew Carlton said Pilsbury had agreed to serve as interim chief as city officials take on the process of hiring a new chief. An outside search firm will be engaged to help with the search.

“The department needs leadership at this time, and I am sure he can provide it well,” Carlton said.

“I just want to say thank you for stepping up to do this,” Mayor Patricia Hart said. “We’ve called on employees to take on leadership roles, and it means they are doubling up, essentially. We appreciate it.”


Pilsbury, who has been with the department for more than two decades, thanked the City Council for the opportunity to serve.

Carlton said Thistle, who has been with the Gardiner Public Library for 10 years, has agreed to take on the director’s role, and he said she’ll do a fantastic job.

Hoenke was the library director at Gardiner for a year and three months, hired to replace longtime director Anne Davis, who retired after more than three decades at the library and filling in three times as acting or interim city manager as city officials looked to fill the city’s chief administrative post. Hoenke with his family had moved from New Zealand back to the United States to take the Gardiner job.

Thistle, who remains the archive librarian for the library, was named assistant library director in July 2021. She served as director of the Vassalboro Public Library for 10 years and was librarian at the Gardiner Regional Middle School for two years.

“I love this place,” Thistle said. “I’ll do anything for it.”

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