Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 28, 2019
Voters approve changes to road commissioner position
The Deer Isle Board of Selectmen explain changes to the road commissioner position during a special town meeting on November 25.
by Monique Labbe
It took 10 minutes for six voters at a special town meeting in Deer Isle on November 25 to approve a change to the road commissioner position, making it an appointed one instead of elected.
Members of the board of selectmen, along with Town Manager Jim Fisher, decided a few weeks ago to start looking into the change after current road commissioner Bert Schmidt informed them he would be leaving after his term in March of next year.
“It never made sense to me to have this be an elected position anyway,” said one resident during the special town meeting. “Why would someone take that job if they have to basically reapply every year.”
The selectmen explained that by making the job an appointed one, they and Fisher would also have more control over when and where the road commissioner and his/her crew would plow after snow storms, patch, and perform other tasks throughout the year.
With the change, the road commissioner will be an employee of the town, which Fisher said is something they will need to figure out in terms of hours, salary, and job description.
The salary has been set at $22 an hour in the recent year, but Fisher said the job description will “probably include a salary range” based on experience. Money raised at town meeting every year for the road maintenance budget will include that salary, as it has in the past with the elected position.
Schmidt will stay on until his term is up in March, and Fisher said the town will not start the search for his replacement until sometime in January.