Dennis Simmons next Wiscasset town manager

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 6:30pm

Dennis Simmons, Wiscasset’s EMS director for the last 18 months, is moving from one end of Wiscasset’s municipal building to the other. On Tuesday night, July 7, selectmen announced they have promoted him to town manager.

The board announced the hiring after a brief executive session. “As you know, we’ve worked very diligently and have found our candidate,” said Chairman Judy Colby. She added, it was the board’s intention to make Simmons’ transition into his new job as smooth as possible. “He’ll be working with (current manager) John O’Connell over the next few weeks.” O’Connell announced in February he was resigning but offered to stay in the position through June to get through the budget season.

Simmons said he has enjoyed being EMS director and is looking forward to his new responsibilities. His starts as manager Aug. 3. During the interim, Deputy EMS Director Erin Bean will oversee the ambulance department.

Simmons was hired as EMS director in February 2019. He has a degree in public administration from the University of Maine and is a graduate of Georges Valley High School in Thomaston.

The board voted unanimously to make Simmons town manager.

In other business, the board declared the fire department’s 31-year-old Thibault model ladder truck as surplus to be sold to the highest bidder. According to Wiscasset Newspaper files, the Carl Thibault company built the truck in Canada and Wiscasset bought it at the 1989 annual town meeting. It is powered by a 475 horsepower Detroit diesel engine and has an automatic transmission.

The fire department wants to replace the vehicle with a used ladder truck to be bought from Cape Elizabeth. The board is asking voters to use $25,000 from capital reserve to buy it.

O’Connell said permitting is still moving along for the planned Cenergy solar project at Wiscasset Municipal Airport. The investors are working on an interconnection agreement with Central Maine Power officials.

Following a public hearing, the board renewed two liquor licenses: The Seabasket, LLC, 303 Bath Road, application made by Louis Rylant, and Water Street Kitchen and Bar, 15 Water St., application made by Edward D. Colburn.

The board appointed Donald Davis of Middle Street to the Waterfront Committee.

Selectman Ben Rines Jr. said he would prefer the board hold future meetings in a larger room so more residents could attend. “This (COVID-19 pandemic) is going to be around a long time and we’ve simply got to make better arrangements,” he commented. The board will look into possible holding future meetings in the community center auditorium or high school gym.

The board will meet 8 a.m. Thursday, July 9 to give final approval to the warrant for the Sept. 8 annual town election.