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Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 23, 2014
Dale Abernethy set to retire as Castine town manager

Dale Abernethy at the Castine Selectmen's meeting

Town Manager Dale Abernethy explains the role of the planning board at the August 19 selectmen’s meeting.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

After 10 years as town manager, Dale Abernethy is retiring.

“I hate to see Dale go,” said Selectman Peter Vogell who has served on the board for Abernethy’s full tenure.

The effective date will be “on or about July 1,” said Chairman David Unger on January 21.

Selectmen unanimously voted to hire the law firm of Eaton Peabody as personnel consultants for “counsel in the process [of] finding someone as good as Dale,” Unger said, at a cost of $5,000. Eaton Peabody was one of two firms who submitted proposals with comparable estimated costs.

Liz Parish asked that a community member be part of the hiring committee and that the job description be reviewed. “It’s been 10 years. It probably needs some reworking,” she said.

Selectmen said no decision had been made either to form a hiring selection committee or to have the selectmen serve; they will wait for the consultant’s suggestions.

In other business, attorney Mike Harmon, representing Sno Logan, offered a counter proposal to the town’s new 2014 lease for waterfront take-out The Breeze. The new lease sets $6,000 as rent, with the town responsible for cleaning the public restrooms, and also allows the town to seek new proposals starting in 2015.

Previously, the cost of the lease was $1,300 plus cleaning the restrooms and emptying public trash cans, but complaints prompted selectmen to hire a cleaning service in 2013 and bill Logan.

Harmon’s counter proposal included Logan hiring “a well-known, hardworking cleaner” to clean the restrooms three times a day and twice on “the rainiest of days,” when The Breeze was closed.

“The proposal we made goes right to the heart of the dispute,” Harmon said.

But the selectmen would not budge.

“Paying for the service is part of the deal, part of the $6,000,” said Selectman Gus Basile.

“The town takes responsibility for the restrooms,” said Vogell. “Anything else is negotiable.”

Selectmen voted unanimously to meet on January 22, after Harmon conferred with Logan, to either grant Logan the lease or seek a new tenant.

Next meeting

Castine Selectmen, Monday, February 3, 4 p.m., Emerson Hall