WEST PARIS — Selectmen are on the search for a new town manager since John White is too sick to renew his contract, and people in town will host a benefit for White later this month.
After annual town meeting in West Paris on Saturday, March 5, selectmen met and voted to hire Wade Rainey as interim town manager, Rainey said.
“John is not coming back. He is beyond coming back – that’s too bad,” Rainey said, adding White served as town manager for eight years and has been sick for the past two and a half years. He declined to elaborate further on White’s illness. “I guess his contract was up at town meeting time so he’s said he could not renew it.”
“As John has told us twice, he can’t come back. He’s just too sick,” added Selectman Randy Jones.
Rainey thought he hung up his municipal hat last year when he opted to not run for re-election for selectman. He served in that capacity for 24 years and also spent a year and a half on the planning board.
“I’ve been out a year and [selectmen] kind of hinted [they wondered] if I would come back and fill until we can find a replacement,” Rainey said. “They swore me in right after town meeting so everything kind of fell right into place as far as that goes. The interim town manager takes over whatever duties the other town manager had and tries to pick up the pieces.”
Selectmen will address searching for White’s replacement at their next meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. today, Thursday, March 10, at the West Paris Town Office, 25 Kingsbury St. Selectmen will look at advertising with Maine Municipal Association since the organization advertises across the state, Rainey said. Jones confirmed the board would advertise for someone to fill the town’s top spot this week.
A benefit will be held later this month to help White pay for medical expenses. A spaghetti with homemade Italian sauce and sausage dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25, at the South Paris Fire Station, 137 Western Ave.
Dinner is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger. The benefit will also host a Chinese auction, according to West Paris Deputy Fire Chief and Public Works employee Troy Billings.
A night at the Inn at Pinnacle Mountain in West Paris has been be donated as part of the auction, along with donations from Save-A-Lot and Rustic Grill and Tavern. Other donations are being sought. Those interested in donating can call Billings at 515-1585 or the West Paris Town Office at 674-2701 and ask for Donna, or mail them directly to the town at P.O. 247, West Paris, ME 04289.
“We want to make sure we do something for John. He’s done a lot for the town and this our way of giving back to him,” Billings said. “We take care of our own. They would be there for us in a heartbeat.”
Jones said selectmen will attend the upcoming benefit, but the board is working out the details of an additional benefit for White.
Rainey noted White was a good town manager.
“He was a good financial person and he served the town well and … when he became sick and stuff, we all supported him right until the end of his contract,” Rainey said.
“He is going to be missed,” Jones added.