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Paradis takes Fort Kent town manager post

FORT KENT, Maine Suzie Paradis has accepted an offer from Fort Kent town councilors to fill the position of town manager.

The councilors unanimously voted to offer Paradis the post following an executive session on Monday, Aug. 13. Following contract negotiations, Paradis and the councilors reached an employment agreement on Tuesday evening, Aug. 21.

Paradis was one of 26 candidates who applied for the job after longtime town manager Donald Guimond retired in March. Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier is serving as interim town manager.

Originally from Madawaska, Paradis currently serves as that town’s economic and community development director. In that role, she has acquired multiple millions of dollars in grant money for Madawaska.

Paradis said she is looking forward to serving the Town of Fort Kent.

“I feel this was a perfect opportunity for me to step into and give back to a community that I have lived in for 27 years and where my children have been raised,” she said on Wednesday.

Suzie and her husband, Denis Paradis, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and are the parents of three children: Savannah, 23, Steffany, 21 and Eden, 16.

Savannah and Steffany recently earned master’s degrees from Husson University in occupational therapy and business administration, respectively.  Eden is a three-sport star athlete at Fort Kent Community High School and a member of the National Honor Society.

Suzie Paradis

Savannah Paradis said she and her siblings are proud of their mother and know she has what it takes to be a successful town manager.

“We’re always telling her she is superwoman, because she is so organized and juggles it all. I only strive to be a worker just like my mom,” she said.

Denis Paradis expressed respect for his wife’s accomplishment on Wednesday as he considered her new position as town manager.

“She’s the type of person that makes things happen in a positive way,” he said. “She’s dedicated. She’s self-motivated, She’s well-informed. She’s fair. What she does, she puts her full heart and soul into it. She’s a go-getter and she does what she’s got to do.”

Councilor Joey Ouellette also shared on Wednesday his confidence in Paradis’ abilities.

“Her roots are here and, in a time where young families are moving away, I wanted someone who understands those dynamics,” Ouellette said. “Outmigration is the biggest problem we face as a town, and it continues to place an increasingly larger tax burden on those who remain.  

“I’m confident Suzie has the ability to face this challenge, and many others, as we move forward,” Ouellette said. “I am sincerely looking forward to working with her and being part of future growth in our amazing town.”

Tony Theriault, head of the Fort Kent Public Works Department, said on Wednesday that he is also pleased to welcome Paradis as town manager.

“She is from the area; she knows the people and she knows the town,” Theriault said.

He added that Paradis impressed him during her interviews last week with each town department head.

“I could tell that she had looked at my department, looked at some numbers and it surprised me, actually,” he said. “I was like wow, okay, she did her homework. I think she’ll do a great job.”

Paradis also has the support of Fort Kent fire chief Ed Endee.

“I think she’ll be a great asset to the community and the town,” Endee said. “I look forward to working with her. My interactions with her have always been very positive and I’m sure she wants to do the best she can for the town and the citizens of Fort Kent.”

County Administrator Ryan D. Pelletier provided a personal recommendation to Paradis when she applied for the position of Fort Kent town manager. He and Paradis have worked together for many years in various capacities.

“I am so pleased by the Fort Kent council’s decision,” Pelletier said. “Suzie has been a friend and colleague of mine for over 20 years going way back to our both serving on the Greater Fort Kent Chamber Board of Directors in the late 1990s. I know she will do an amazing job for Fort Kent and will be a welcomed addition to the Maine Town, City & County Management profession.”

Paradis said she is ready to get down to the business of managing Fort Kent.

“There are so many assets the Town of Fort Kent can continue to capitalize on and partnerships with many businesses, non-profit and civic organizations. There are many exciting possibilities. I’m anxious and excited to begin working with all the employees/board members of the municipality and the townspeople. I want to continue good working relationships with all of our outlying communities as well,” she said.

Paradis said she expects to begin serving in the role as Fort Kent town manager sometime either at the end of September or the first week of October.

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