Islanders extend town manager's contract

Town picks two selectmen, tops up emergency ferry fund
By Ethan Andrews | Nov 22, 2011
Source: The Street Maps of Waldo County

Islesboro — Islesboro selectmen voted Monday, Nov. 21 to extend the contract of Town Manager Jeff Grossman until June 30, 2014.

The contract also gives the manager a 5-percent raise, ups the town's contribution to his retirement from 5 to 10 percent — both retroactive to July 1, 2011 — and increases his vacation from three weeks to four weeks per year, with not more than one week to be taken in July and August.

Grossman, who previously served as town manager in Boothbay Harbor and South Berwick and city manager in Westbrook, was hired as Islesboro's town manager in November 2009.

Last year, selectmen preemptively extended his original contract by two years. Monday's action, which extended his contract one additional year, was similarly taken in advance.

The terms of the contract suggest that selectmen have been happy with the town manager, and Grossman, reflecting on his first two years, said Tuesday that he has liked the work so far.

"I think it's been a good fit," he said. "It's not nearly as political as other communities I've been in, so it's been enjoyable."

Two new selectmen

Residents, at a special town meeting held Nov. 16, filled two vacancies on the town's board of selectmen and socked away more money for emergency ferry trips.

Sandra Oliver was elected to replace Nakomis Nelson, who resigned on Oct. 19, midway through his second three-year term on the board.

Nelson, who works as a ship captain, told VillageSoup Nov. 21 that he is often sailing abroad and felt that he wasn't in Islesboro enough to serve well on the selectboard.

"As much as my heart's still in it, I haven't had the physical presence there," he said.

Residents also elected Jay Zlotkowski to serve the final seven months of a three-year term vacated by Seth Wilbur, who resigned Nov. 2. Wilbur was serving his first term. VillageSoup attempted to contact Wilbur on Nov. 21 but had not spoken with him as of this publication.

Emergency ferry trips

Also at the special town meeting, residents voted to take $15,000 from surplus to bolster the fund for emergency ferry service.

The off-schedule trips shuttling the town ambulance to the mainland cost $650 per incident, according to officials. Town Manager Jeffrey Grossman said Islesboro spent around $20,000 on them last year, which translates into about 30 trips.

Islesboro began footing the bill for emergency ferry trips in July 2010. The ferry is operated by the Maine State Ferry Service, a branch of the Maine Department of Transportation, and receives half its funding from fares and the other half through the state's highway fund.

According to Jim MacLeod, manager of the Maine State Ferry Service, the $650 fee for emergency trips is based strictly on the estimated cost of crew wages and fuel. Prior to July 2010, the expense was absorbed by the highway fund, he said.

Grossman said Islesboro has started trying to recoup the emergency ferry fees from health insurance companies as part of the cost of ambulance transportation, and has had some success.

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