Friday, October 27, 2023

Windham Town Council approves hire of new Public Works Director with Fortier retirement

By Ed Pierce

A familiar face will be returning to serve the Town of Windham as Jon Earle has been hired as the town’s new Public Works Director, succeeding Doug Fortier, who is retiring in early November.

Jon Earle, left, has been hired by the Town of Windham as
its new Public Works Director. He will succeed Doug Fortier,
right, who is retiring in early November after 31 years
with the department. COURTESY PHOTOS 
Earle emerged as the leading candidate for the job from a field of seven candidates with an interview process held to identify a candidate with the background, skills and experience that would be a good match for the position. The Public Works Director has primary responsibility for the organization, operation, and overall performance of the town’s Public Works Department. Duties include oversight for the department and administration of the departmental budget and the supervision of all department employees.

“Jon worked for the town for a little over two years as Town Engineer,” said Phyllis Moss, the town’s Human Resources Director in a memo to the council. “During that time, I had the opportunity to spend time with Jon and I feel confident he will be successful in the role of Public Works Director. My interaction with him demonstrated that he has the real passion for public works and is a clear communicator, ethical, analytical, and has excellent interpersonal skills. The position of Director of Public Works can be challenging, but I believe he has the background, skills, experience, and personal attributes needed for the position. We would be privileged to have him as part of our team.”

He graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Southern Maine in Public Administration. Earle currently serves as the Supervisor of Engineering Services for the Maine Water Company and is responsible for capital project delivery and oversight in 12 public water systems serving more than 32,000 customers across the state. Earle also obtained a graduate certificate in Public Management from the Muskie School of Public Service.

His work history includes more than 22 years of progressively responsible public and private sector experience, including nine years in management roles. During his professional career, Earle has been responsible for budget management, personnel hiring and development, in both union and non-union environments. He is also a member his local planning board and is currently a board member of the Maine Society of Professional Engineers.

Earle will be responsible for Highway Maintenance, which includes winter plowing as well as maintaining all town roads, ditches, shoulders, drainage and other infrastructures; vehicle maintenance, which includes maintenance of all equipment from excavators and backhoes down to chain saws and hand compactors, as well as the police and town office vehicles; and Buildings & Grounds, which includes care of over 20 town cemeteries, nine municipal buildings, and two intersections. His duties will include budgeting, seeking grant money for roads, working on capital equipment replacement plans, getting bids for anything from equipment purchase to buying winter sand and salt. Another part of his job is hiring when there are vacancies.

Fortier has served as Windham’s Public Works Director for the past 20 years and has been a member of the town’s Public Works Department for 31 years overall. He was first hired in 1992 as a member of the grounds crew but was almost immediately moved into a truck driver position. In 1999, he was promoted to Equipment Operator where he gained valuable supervisory experience. In 2001, Fortier was promoted to the role of Deputy Public Works Director and then appointed as the town’s Director of Public Works in May 2004.

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said Fortier will be missed and what he’s done through the years to help the town is remarkable.

Tibbetts said that Fortier oversaw the construction of the $9.3-million Shared Maintenance Facility which was completed in the fall of 2019 under budget; worked with Gorrill Palmer on the design and bidding and construction for all phases of the Brand Road reconstruction and the Hillcrest Drainage project renewing 28 infiltration bed­ style catch basins; worked with Gorrill Palmer on the design to reconstruct the Route 302 shoulders to create the center turn lane north of the Anglers Road intersection for 7,200 feet and assisted in securing a contractor for the $1.5 million dollar project; secured an additional $50,000 from the Maine Department of Transportation to help with the expense on the Route 302 turn lane; worked with Gorrill Palmer on the design for reconstruction and pedestrian enhancements for Depot Street; and worked with the town engineer in securing a Maine DOT MPI grant of up to $625,000 for the Route 302 North smart signal and intersection improvements, among many projects he has been involved with.

“These accomplishments only touch the surface,” Tibbetts said. “Doug has taken an active role in union negotiations, interviewed, and hired candidates for positions throughout Public Works, provided learning opportunities and encouragement to employees, and let's not forget Merry Christmas Trees, his business located here in Windham. Speaking for the entire town, I would like to thank Doug publicly for his years of dedication and wish him a very merry retirement.” <

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