Tuesday, July 02, 2019

City Media Enforcer to Head Small Town in Maine

Widowed State Representative Dennis Keschel resigned as Belgrade, Maine's Town Manager for personal reasons, as did town Treasurer Melanie Alexander.  The pair resigned in tandem which raises the question:  What happened that both town leaders resigned for personal reasons nearly simultaneously?  Were their decisions related?

Belgrade revealed nothing while searching for replacements.  Riding in from West Texas to rescue Belgrade is new Town Manager Anthony Wilson.  Wilson will not only run the town but decide which citizens get access to available public support.

Wilson left a city of 100,000 people and a Public Information budget of $458,000 for a town of 3,200 with a town budget of over $7 million.   The City of San Angelo started 2018-2019 budget with $21 million in general fund balance (cash reserves), three times Belgrade's budget for the whole town.

Wilson took his job as the San Angelo's media enforcer seriously.  He called one day to inform me a quote I used from him "was inartful on his part."  That came after minutes of Anthony vigorously sharing his displeasure over something I'd written.  I expect his anger stemmed from revealing Anthony recommended "arming every 10-year-old boy in San Angelo with a BB guns and license to kill" to deal with the city's community cat problem (just kidding, of course).

Small town in Maine with frequent turnover in the town manager position and no annual town report the last two years.  Add a Texas sized hyper-competitive personality and things could quickly get cold and dark, like a brutal New England winter.  It sounds like the premise for a Stephen King novel.

Update 7-4-19:  San Angelo Live did a story on Anthony's leaving.   City Manager Daniel Valenzuela praised Wilson for building "a structure and a culture that ensures our citizens can remain plugged into their local government."  I don't see how not recording and televising numerous citizen boards fits into Valenzuela's compliment.  It's hard to stay plugged in when there is nothing to watch.

Update 7-12-19:  Central Maine.com reported on Wilson's hiring.  He plans to move his family to Belgrade, although one child is a rising high school senior.  Many family's would let that child graduate before moving across the country.  Time will reveal how this "likeable guy" fulfills his promises to Belgrade.

Update 7-21-19:   Wilson was sworn in as Town Manager last week.  The town's first order of business was a tax increase.  Wilson's contract was approved by a 5-1 vote. 

1 comment:

PEU Report/State of the Division said...

When City Attorney Theresa James introduced her protection from abusive persons policy the first two people in city government who came to mind were Anthony Wilson and Michael Dane. Anger management is not their strength.

The City is losing the face of its Public Information Office but there is a rich history of video with Wilson's various haircuts (something he noted in his last meeting with City Council).