Oakland town councilors signing documents at an emergency meeting Tuesday are, from left, David Groder, Don Borman, Bob Nutting, Dana Wrigley and Chairman Mike Perkins. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

OAKLAND — The Town Council at an emergency meeting Tuesday voted to accept the resignation of Town Manager Ella Bowman and release her from an employment agreement with the town, while also appointing the town’s human resources and finance director as the interim town manager.

Bowman was placed on paid, nondisciplinary administrative leave on Aug. 23 for reasons neither she nor Oakland town officials have made public. Last week she submitted a resignation letter and was hired as Winslow’s new town manager.

Town Manager Ella Bowman is seen at the Oakland Town Office in April. She was recently placed on administrative leave by the Oakland Town Council and then accepted the position as town manager of nearby Winslow. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

Bowman, who is transgender, was town manager for nine years, and before that had been a police officer in Oakland for 15 years. She wrote in her resignation letter to the Town Council that backlash to her gender transition prompted her to leave. The council said in a statement last week, however, that Bowman’s transition was not a factor in its decision to place her on administrative leave.

At a rally Sept. 13 at the fire station, residents came out to support Bowman, asking why she had been placed on leave. Both legal counsel Matt Tarasevich and council Chairman Mike Perkins said they could not legally discuss the reasons.

The unanimous vote Tuesday followed an executive session that began around noon to consult with Tarasevich, who was present via Zoom. The private session lasted about 20 minutes.

The council also voted 5-0 to waive any required notice periods and authorize Perkins to execute all necessary documents related to Bowman’s departure. Councilors also voted to appoint Kelly Pinney-Michaud as the interim manager.


Perkins read aloud a statement from Bowman that says serving Oakland residents over the past 24 years as a public servant had been the most rewarding time of her life and one she will never forget.

“I am appreciative of the Oakland council’s waiver of the 30- to 60-day waiting period, allowing me to start my position with the town of Winslow without delay,” Bowman’s statement said.

She also said that “as with all things, change is sometimes necessary. I am looking forward to working with the Winslow Town Council, staff members and residents in my new position as town manager.”

Perkins also read a statement from the Oakland council saying members accepted Bowman’s resignation, thanked her for her long service to the town and wished her well.

“As Ella states, sometimes change is necessary,” Perkins read. “We have appointed Kelly Pinney-Michaud as our interim town manager and she has our full support, as do the rest of our staff. We will soon begin the process for hiring a new town manager. During this period, we wish to assure our citizens that town operations will continue to be provided at the same high level you have come to expect. This is one thing that won’t change.”

On Aug. 25, Bowman received a letter from Perkins informing her she had been placed on leave because a municipal employee had filed a complaint against her, and an independent investigator was being hired to look into the matter. Bowman later said she learned during an interview with the investigator that six employees had filed complaints against her.


Perkins declined to comment later Tuesday when asked if the investigation into complaints against Bowman will continue now that she is no longer employed by the town, and whether the complaints against her will be made public.

“We can’t discuss any type of personnel complaint,” he said, “so that’s all we’re going to say.”

Councilors also voted 5-0 Tuesday to appoint Deputy Town Manager Jan Porter, who also is town clerk, to the positions of tax collector and treasurer; and Deputy Town Clerk Kathleen Paradis to the positions of deputy tax collector and deputy treasurer.

Kelly Pinney-Michaud has been named Oakland’s interim town manager following the resignation of Ella Bowman. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

After the votes, resident Angela Jurdak asked if Bowman would receive compensation she had asked for, for unused sick and vacation days.

“We did what the law required us to do,” Perkins replied. “We can’t discuss it.”

Jurdak also asked if Pinney-Michaud would be compensated for taking on the position of interim town manager, to which Perkins replied that that issue would be discussed. Jurdak serves on the town’s budget advisory committee and appeals board.

Pinney-Michaud said after the meeting that she is familiar with the functions of the town manager and knows all town employees and board members.

“I think by knowing the employees and the finance piece, it will be a smooth transition,” she said.

Prior to being hired as director of finance and human resources, Pinney-Michaud served on the building committees for both the fire and police stations, as well as on the budget advisory committee.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story