GARDINER — The Gardiner City Council has endorsed the appointment of John Cameron as director of the Department of Public Works.

John Cameron has been named director of the Gardiner Department of Public Works. Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal

The move is a promotion for Cameron, who has been serving as deputy director since November.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Andrew Carlton, who has been serving as Public Works director, said over time, he has given more responsibility to Cameron.

“John has done a fabulous job,” Carlton said. “(He) has done a nice job of bringing the crew together, and we’re fully staffed in Public Works and Building & Grounds.”

Cameron, 44, said he has worked in Public Works for more than five years.

He was working for MainEx Construction, running the paving group, when he first applied.


“I grew up in Gardiner, I live locally (in West Gardiner) and I thought it would be a good opportunity,” he said.

Cameron was first hired as an operator and then worked as a mechanic, before being promoted into the foreman’s position. It was from that job he was promoted to deputy director.

Initially, Cameron said his wife had talked him into interviewing for the operator’s job. When he did, he said Tony LaPlante, who was then the Public Works director, and Denise Brown, the city’s Finance Department director, were good salespeople and convinced him it would be a good opportunity.

“I’m glad they did,” Cameron said. “I told them I was always eager not to stay on the bottom of the totem pole, and I was always looking to become foreman. And as I took that position, I liked the look of the director’s seat pretty good.”

Cameron will be paid $76,000 a year in his new role.

As director, Cameron said, he wants to continue to keep things running efficiently, try to improve the downtown area and Waterfront Park and retain the current staff.


Carlton said he made the decision in November to create the deputy director’s position, following the departure of Jerry Douglass, who had served about two years as director in the Department of Public Works. Douglass left in August to become the town manager in Durham.

At that time, Carlton said he did not want to impose major changes on the department as winter and the snow-removal season were approaching.

The person hired as deputy director, he said, would be in a position to learn the executive management side of the job, which includes budgets, capital improvement planning and contracts, and in time be promoted to the director’s position.

A reception for Cameron is scheduled for noon Monday at City Hall, 6 Church St.

Carlton has made other promotions within the organization since he started last June.

Kathleen Cutler, who had been serving as Gardiner’s tax collector and deputy treasurer, took on the duties of the city clerk following the departure of Alisha Ballard, who is deputy city clerk in Augusta.

Earlier this month, Todd Pilsbury, who had been named interim police chief after the retirement of James Toman, was appointed police chief, and Dawn Thistle, who had been named interim library director after the resignation of Justin Hoenke, was named library director.

Editor’s Note: An image that was running with this story has been replaced to show John Cameron, the new director of the Gardiner Department of Public Works.

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