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Fort Kent town councilors elect Bouchard as chair

FORT KENT, Maine — A newly formed Fort Kent Town Council met Monday for the first time since voters elected two new members in March with councilors unanimously choosing Dr. John Bouchard as chairman.

The five councilors also agreed to hold a special meeting next week to consider selecting an interim town manager while they determine how to replace longtime manager Don Guimond, who resigned effective March 15.

Voters on March 26 elected Dr. John Bouchard and Corey Pelletier to fill two open council seats, with former council chairman Dan Marquis losing his re-election bid.

Four Fort Kent town councilors raise their hands to vote for Dr. John Bouchard, center, as council chairman during Monday’s meeting. Voting are, from left, Scott Pelletier, Joey Ouellette, Bouchard, Carroll Theriault and Corey Pelletier. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Following Bouchard’s selection as the new chairman on Monday, councilor Joey Ouellette recommended that the council hold a special meeting to address the town manager position which has remained vacant since Guimond left.

The previous council had voted to wait until June to begin searching for a new town manager.

One of the approximately 15 people in attendance at the meeting asked Bouchard if the search will be moved forward now that a new council is in place. Bouchard said he anticipates that will happen.

“We’re leaning on getting something done sooner rather than later,” Bouchard said.

Bouchard also said that hiring a new town manager will be a “challenge” which will “not happen overnight.”

He also asked for patience from the public with the new council.

“We’re gonna make mistakes but a little patience goes a long way,” he said. “We can’t fix everything today but we’re gonna listen and try to work together.”

After going into an executive session later in the meeting to further discuss the town manager vacancy, councilors agreed to hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, to discuss the vacancy and the possibility of having an interim manager until a permanent replacement can be hired. Since that discussion will involve considerations of employment, councilors are again expected to go into executive session.

The next regular meeting of the Fort Kent Town Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m at the Fort Kent Municipal Building.

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