Topsham seeks new public works director, code officer

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TOPSHAM — Along with looking for a new Town Manager, the town is also seeking replacements for its public works director and code enforcement officer.

Town Manager Jim Ashe announced at the Oct. 7 Board of Selectmen meeting that Public Works Director Rob Pontau’s final day will be Oct. 31. Ashe said the town is seeking a replacement immediately, and that Tad Hunter – a former public works director who filled in until Pontau started in June 2008 – will help out again until the town finds a permanent replacement.

Ashe congratulated Pontau, who is becoming assistant general manager of the Brunswick Sewer District. But he also expressed disappointment, noting that Pontau did “a great job for us.”

Pontau said Tuesday that he had been looking for a new challenge, “and what’s best for me and my family, and (moving on) was ultimately the decision.”

He said he would miss working with his crew and seeing the results of the department’s work.

Ashe said he would like to discuss the Bridge to Bridge Trail at the next selectmen’s meeting. The board voted unanimously last month to authorize construction of the trail, which will run from across Front Street and down Bridge Street to the Swinging Bridge.

The town’s 20 percent contribution to the project (the Maine Department of Transportation is funding the rest) is worth about $17,000 for in-house work done by the Public Works Department. But Ashe said he was unsure whether Pontau could complete the project by his final day, and that the town may want to consider going out to bid for the work.

Meanwhile, Code Enforcement Officer Tod Rosenberg will leave on Oct. 15 to serve in the same capacity in Belfast. Back-up codes officer Robert Williamson will fill in while the town seeks Rosenburg’s replacement.

A search is also in progress for a replacement for Ashe, who will conclude a three-year stint with Topsham at the end of this year.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.