WINSLOW — The Town Council determined during a special meeting this week the chairman of the council did not have a conflict of interest when he voted to award a municipal paving contract to a company with whom the chairman does business.

The council convened Monday in response to criticism by some residents that Chairman Peter Drapeau would see financial gain from the vote last week to award a three-year contract for all of Winslow’s paving projects to Pike Industries.

Drapeau’s trucking business, Peter A. Drapeau Trucking, subcontracts with Pike, which a handful of residents on social media said represented a conflict of interest.

Peter Drapeau Morning Sentinel file

Drapeau on Monday denied that the awarding of the contract would result in added revenue for him. He said his trucking company, which provides commercial vehicles to Pike when it performs local jobs, receives a flat fee from Pike no matter how much business Pike gets in a year.

“I have an ironclad contract with Pike to haul that material, no matter what,” Drapeau told the Morning Sentinel on Tuesday. “This is my third year on the council, the past two years we have awarded the contract to Pike and (no one) had a problem with it.”

The town’s attorney, Bill Lee, attended the meeting and said “from a purely legal standpoint, there’s not a conflict.” The council voted 5-1 Monday in determining that Drapeau’s vote did not constitute a conflict of interest. Draupeau did not vote.


For the past three years the town has contracted with Pike for all paving projects in Winslow. The lowest bid this year on the paving contract came from Maine-ly Paving Services, a newer company the town has not worked with before.

Because of the “unknowns” and a long history of working with Pike, councilors voted 6-1 last week to award the contract to Pike, even though the bid from the company was $40,000 higher than Maine-ly Paving.

“I think it’s well worth it to go with the Pike bid, and make sure we once again get our roads done good,” Councilor Dale Macklin said last week. “With Pike we know what we’re getting. … We don’t want to set our paving schedule back by taking any risk with anybody else.”

Public Works Director Paul Fongemie said at last week’s meeting that during his tenure with the town he has always gone with the lowest bid on a contract. “I can’t recommend Pike and spend an extra $40,000,” Fongemie said. “I can pave another street with that money.”

Town Manager Erica LaCroix worried about the legality of rejecting the lowest bid, but Lee said that the town “has the right to reject any and all bids,” and can decide to do so based on a “variety of factors.”

Following last week’s meeting a number of residents took to social media, and one officially complained to the town, that the contract was awarded to Pike because of Drapeau’s ties to the company.


Drapeau said Monday that his trucking business subcontracts with nearly every construction company in town, including every contractor on the paving bid list such as Maine-ly Paving.

Before running for the council, Drapeau said he consulted with lawyers about whether his business dealings could lead to conflicts when it came to council votes or negotiations.

“They assured me there would be no conflict, because I didn’t work for any of these companies as an employee nor did I hold any holdings 10% or above in ownership,” Drapeau said.

The discussion Monday raised the question of how councilors in a town the size of Winslow, where many people are familiar with one another, can objectively vote on important issues.

“It’s very difficult in a small town not to know somebody who does business with somebody that comes before the council,” Councilor Ray Caron said. “So you’re always better to clarify the situation prior if you do feel you have a conflict.”

Drapeau said from now on he will begin every council meeting as Waterville does, with a sentence asking if any councilor needs to discuss a potential conflict relating to an item on the agenda.

Jerry Quirion was the lone councilor who voted that Drapeau did have a conflict and against awarding the contract to Pike. He could not be reached Tuesday to explain his vote.

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