BUCKFIELD — The Select Board met with its department heads Wednesday in kind of a meet-and-greet with new interim Town Manager Bradley Plante.
Plante, the former town manager at Poland and Harrison, presented an overview on where things stand at the Town Office and shared his philosophy on town government.
“Keep the best interest of the town in mind,” he told department heads. “This is not about you.”
The teamwork theme was consistent during the meeting.
Plante is replacing John Andrews, a state legislator who resigned last week after six months.
This is Plante’s second stint as interim town manager of Buckfield. He previously served in the role for five months from August 2017 to January 2018.
The Select Board hired Plante on Monday, and he started Tuesday morning with a full slate of duties that required his attention. The town has printed the absentee ballots for the June 8 election and they were made available to residents Wednesday.
He admitted that he has a long list of things to accomplish.
“It’s great to be back in Buckfield,” Plante said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I kind of got dumped into the middle of it.”
Plante conceded that finances are a problem. The board has authorized him to hire a certified public accountant to come in and help figure things out. He said he had a folder full of old invoices that need his immediate attention. Some of the department heads said they had not seen budget figures in months.
He also added that he needed to “clean up the budget” before finalizing it, getting the Select Board to approve and sending it to the voters.
He added that he would not micromanage his department heads. He expects them to run their own departments.
“If I have to come in and micromanage, then we have a problem.” Plante said.
As town manager, Plante said he would not be sitting in his office with his door closed. He promised to get out and be visible in town and with the town employees.
Plante praised his office staff — Town Clerk Melissa Wolf and office assistant Calley Baker — for their assistance the past couple of days. Both have been on the job for only a few months.
Select Board Chairwoman Tina Brooks said Sumner Town Clerk Sherry Sullivan has offered to come in Mondays to provide the office staff with more training, which the board enthusiastically approved.
Chip Richardson, head of the Rescue Department, requested that department heads return to meeting together each month, which Plante thought was a good idea.
As the former interim town manager, Plante already has a relationship with most of the town leaders, who all seemed happy where things are heading.
“We’re starting to make headway,” Plante said. “We’re getting there. We’re a team. We succeed as a group.”