Thursday, April 17, 2014
By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling firstname.lastname@example.org
OAKLAND — In a four-way battle for two open seats on the Town Council, two incumbents are running on their record, a recently retired mill worker is running on his ideas for change and an oil company manager is running on his background in business management.
Incumbents Mike Perkins, a police officer and driving school instructor, and Byron Wrigley, a retired Central Maine Power worker, both say the town is working well, and that they have strong records of accomplishment to point to.
Challenger Max Marston, an oil company manager, said the current council is doing a good job, but would benefit from his business management skills, while the other challenger Edward Roderick, a retired mill worker, said he would be a needed voice of dissent on the council.
Perkins, 52, a graduate of Messalonskee High School, said the town has the right elements, including himself, to meet the challenges of the future.
“If the wheel’s turning, don’t break it,” he said.
Perkins works full-time as the trip coordinator for Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18’s transportation department, and is also a 32-year veteran police officer, currently serving as a reserve officer for Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. In addition, he owns KMD Driving School. He has been chairman for five of the six year’s he’s been on the council.
Under the current leadership, Perkins said, the town completed a multimillion dollar sewage project without a rate increase, and the town budget has been kept low over the past few years even as it maintains a high-quality municipal workforce.
“A lot of our employees are long in the tooth,” he said. “That’s a good sign. If you have a big turnover, it means you don’t have good management and we have some good people in place.”
The biggest challenge facing Oakland, he said, is to continue to keep the town’s finances in check.
Perkins said he leads by allowing all sides of an argument to be aired, and then allowing the majority opinion to rule.
Wrigley, 74, graduated from Williams High School in 1958 , worked for Central Maine Power Company for nearly 30 years, and for the Oakland-based School Administrative District 47 for 10 years. He has been on the council for 17 years.
The town, Wrigley said, has been well-managed.
“We have controlled our department budget to the point of bare bones,” he said. “We try not to have a fat budget as far as public works and the police department and fire department go.”
Wrigley said one of the biggest upcoming projects will be retrofitting the town’s buildings to make use of the natural gas pipeline that will soon run through the town.
“I feel we’ve got as good a town as anybody in our locality,” Wrigley said. “I don’t think we’re lacking for anything.”
Marston, 30, has been the branch manager at the Oakland office of Fabian Oil for about five years. He said he earned a bachelor’s from the University of Southern Maine and a master’s from Thomas College, both in business administration.
There were no other specific issues he said were important to him as a candidate, but he stressed that his background would allow him to give back in a way that would help the community.
He said the current council is doing a good job, but he believes he can leverage his business management skills to help the town move forward.
“My experience as a business manager will help ensure that educated decisions are made and the decisions are carried out seamlessly,” he said in a written statement.
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