Bill Post is the acting city manager of Waterville following the departure in December of City Manager Steve Daly. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Eaton Peabody Consulting Group of Augusta to help search for a new city manager to succeed Steve Daly, who abruptly resigned in December.

The 7-0 vote followed a report by acting City Manager Bill Post who said he contacted five firms and received two proposals: one from Eaton Peabody for $9,000 and another from Maine Municipal Association for $6,400. Another firm declined to submit a proposal, citing workload, and two others didn’t respond with proposals, according to Post.

Eaton Peabody would start the search process Feb. 21 with the intent to name a city manager in early to mid-May, while MMA could not start the process any earlier than March, Post said. He recommended the council choose Eaton Peabody, to start the process in two weeks. He said he has worked with the firm and it is “top notch.”

He said a new manager could start probably around July 1 if Eaton is hired whereas MMA’s proposal would mean getting a new manager about a month later. Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, agreed with Post, saying it makes sense to hire Eaton Peabody despite MMA’s lower cost.

“I think three grand is chump change for the gain of a whole month,” Klepach said. “It’s a clear indication that Eaton Peabody seems correct to me.”

Council Chairwoman Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, agreed with Klepach.


Klepach added that with the labor market the way it is, “the longer we wait the poorer the pool is going to be.”

The city used MMA to help search for a city manager before Daly was hired. His resignation in December came nearly two years into a three-year contract, citing urgent personal circumstances. He had earned $125,000 his first year and $130,000 the second year.

In other matters Tuesday, the council voted to refer to the Planning Board a request by Ware-Butler Building Supply to rezone 74 Pleasant St. from Residential-D to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A so the former rectory of Sacred Heart Church can be used for business offices.

Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, objected to sending it to the Planning Board until someone from Ware-Butler could explain to the council what the business plans to do with the entire property, including the former Sacred Heart Church building.

Francke said Ware-Butler tore down two houses on Pleasant Street next to its business and now plans to convert another residence on Pleasant Street to commercial space. The rectory is in the middle of a residential zone, Francke said.

“Quite frankly, I think this is the wrong direction for this neighborhood to be moving in,” he said.


Klepach said the church will never be a place of worship again, according to documents signed when the church was sold.

“That era of that land use is done, and we need to be thinking about how it’s going to be used in the future,” he said.

Klepach said boundaries of residential and commercial areas are in flux all the time, and no one has the capital to turn the whole parcel into residential uses.

“I agree with you that it’s not ideal, but I don’t think ideal is achievable in this situation,” Klepach said to Francke.

Francke and Councilor Flavia DeBrito, D-Ward 2, voted against referring the matter to the Planning Board. Green said she was voting to refer it because the Planning Board is the place where plans are heard and she wants to know what they are.

The Planning Board does not have authority to make zoning changes, but it may make recommendations to the council, which does have authority to rezone.

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