Long-time Fort Kent town manager Donald Guimond announces resignation
FORT KENT, Maine — The atmosphere at the Fort Kent Municipal Building was somewhat somber on Tuesday morning shortly after Town Manager Donald Guimond informed employees of his decision to resign after serving the town for 24 years.
Guimond submitted his letter of resignation to members of the Fort Kent Town Council at a regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday evening.
In his resignation letter, Guimond said he has “not taken this decision lightly.”
“At all times during my tenure it has been my philosophy to place the taxpayers of our community at the forefront of all decisions I have made. At this time I can no longer continue to serve with the vigor and determination that is required of the position as town manager,” Guimond wrote. The letter was dated Tuesday, Dec. 26, but not submitted until Monday night. The resignation is effective March 15.
“I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing for 24 years and need to move on. You have to recognize when it is time and for me I believe it is time,” Guimond said during an interview with Fiddlehead Focus Tuesday morning. “I really didn’t expect to be here for 24 years. Time flew by and I generally enjoyed what I’ve done so far. Serving the people of Fort Kent is a big privilege and an honor.”
Guimond’s decision came as a surprise to many, including Councilor Joey Ouellette.
“He was there for 24/25 years, so I guess I suspected he wouldn’t be staying for much longer, but didn’t think it would be now,” Ouellette said on Tuesday. “He has done a great job while I have been a councilman and he’ll be missed.”
Municipal clerk Marilyn Pinette has worked for the town for 13 years and said she also will miss Guimond.
“I’m very disappointed. He was an excellent boss. He cares about the people and the public,” she said. “When you work with somebody for so long it’s like family and he did a lot of good for the town — he really, really did.”
Steve Pelletier, the director of planning and economic development for the town of Fort Kent, said Guimond’s departure is a loss for the town.
“This is a big loss for the town I think. It’s a loss of experience in everything, [including] the budget process. I think he’s really given his life to the town for 25 years. He’s got a wealth of knowledge,” Pelletier said.
Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier said he has appreciated working with Guimond and respects all the town manager has done in service to the community.
“I have an outstanding working relationship with Don,” Pelletier said Tuesday. “He’s the well oiled gear in the machine that keeps everything going. I don’t think anybody truly realizes how much he does behind the scenes to represent the town in an extremely positive way. He volunteers and that reflects upon us as a town, to see him in these different roles throughout the community. I think that he will truly be missed.”
Aroostook County Administrator and former Madawaska town manager Ryan Pelletier said Guimond helped him to develop into a municipal leader.
“We have been friends since I started in this field and he has been a great friend and mentor,” Ryan Pelletier said.
“Fort Kent has seen so much growth and change under his leadership. They have been lucky to have had him all these years. Not many managers stay in one community for that long anymore. His knowledge and understanding of municipal law, policy and governance will be hard to replace, but knowing Don he will help to make the transition as smooth as possible. That’s just the kind of great man he is.”
Guimond, who is co-owner of Guimond Farms, a family owned beef cattle farm in Fort Kent, said he has no definitive plans for his future. However, he pointed out that his resignation becomes effective on March 15, just as calving season begins.
“I plan to spend spring on the farm and figure out what happens after,” he said.
He also plans to continue to serve on various boards not affiliated with his position as town manager, including at Northern Maine Medical Center and Acadia Federal Credit Union.
Council Chair Dan Marquis could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment about the resignation and the Council’s next steps in securing a new town manager. Ouellette directed referred questions about that process to Marquis.
When asked, Guimond said there were no issues or conflicts causing him to submit his resignation — “it’s just time.”
Guimond said that whatever steps the Council takes to secure his replacement, he has confidence in the future of Fort Kent.
“We have good people working for the community who have done good things, so the foundation is there to continue to move forward,” he said Tuesday.
In his resignation letter, Guimond also expressed hope for the town he has served for nearly a quarter of a century.
“Our community has been the envy of many other communities not only in Aroostook County but throughout the state of Maine. We have achieved much with little controversy and fanfare, not an easy task. I wish nothing but continued success to the community of Fort Kent moving forward.”