A small town in Maine came to a standstill after its only employee resigned following the board of elections’ decision to deny his vacation request.
Christen Bouchard, a city clerk in Passadumkeag, Maine since 2020, applied about a month and a half ago to take two weeks off. The board of aldermen rejected her request, saying no one was available to replace her.
Now, since his departure on April 7, the city has had no one to search vehicles, maintain vital records or liaise with the state Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife.
City Clerk isn’t the only important vacancy in the City of Passadumkeag. According The Bangor Daily Newsthe town of 356 people also lacks a code enforcement officer, a consultant, an animal control officer, a school administration officer.
On April 19, a message from the city noted that the city office would be closed to in-person visitors until further notice.
“The Treasurer will be around a couple of days a week to accept payments for things like taxes,” the statement read. “Call the office before you go out to do any business here, as there are no designated hours of operation now.”
Treasurer Barbara Boyer has reportedly been coming into the office to collect tax payments, but is unable to register vehicles, perform building inspections, perform animal welfare checks, or do many of the other things the city relied on to do. in Mrs. Bouchard.
An Independent The call to the city office went unanswered on Wednesday.
It’s not clear the city will be able to fill the positions and reopen for business any time soon. In March, city residents rejected a budget item intended to fund city operations after city officials failed to adequately explain the rationale for a proposed salary increase. The budget item also did not include funding for a code enforcement officer, a necessity under Maine law.
Given budget uncertainty, the city’s small population, and the fact that municipal positions are only part-time, city officials told the Bangor Daily News they are struggling to fill vacant positions. Ms. Bouchard only had a contract to work 16 hours a week, though she said she often worked more, and was only paid $13,500 a year.
“We’ve been left in a mess by years of neglect and we’re doing everything we can to get our city back on track,” said First Councilmember Brad McKechnie.
“I think over time, with the team we have, we’ll get Passadumkeag back in order and looking good, but it’s going to take a bit and it’s going to be a challenge for sure.”
For now, Passadumkeag residents are turning to aldermen and other municipalities to perform basic government functions, like registering their cars in the nearby town of Howland.