Saco Mayor-elect William Doyle will be inaugurated on Dec. 2. He talked about his goals and vision for the city’s future ion a recent interview. Courtesy Photo

SACO – William Doyle beat incumbent Marston Lovell by 210 votes in the Nov. 5 contest for a four-year term as Saco mayor. He will be inaugurated on Dec. 2.

He served two terms as a councilor for Ward 3 – and has a vision for the future.

In an interview at a Saco cafe on Thursday, Nov. 7 Doyle said he wanted to be mayor for a couple of reasons.

“What is comes down to is I really value and care about my community,” said Doyle. “I am building my family here and want to continue to that. I want my children and grandchildren to grow up here, for generations to come — to live here, work and play here and (I want) to make sure they can do it.”

That encompasses a lot, from his immediate initiative to increase transparency in local government, to his long term vision of forming public-private partnerships to improve the city. In between, there’s work to be done on education, building relationships between the city council and the school board, building communication, moving ahead with plans for improvements at Camp Ellis, and more.

Doyle, 39, went to work at a local vending company after graduating from Thornton Academy in 1999. A couple of years later, he enrolled in Andover College, worked as a reserve police officer in Kennebunk and for a security firm where he rose to supervisor, managing 20 employees. In 2008, he was hired as a corrections officer at York County Jail, where he was elected president of the union. In 2012, he commuted from Saco to his job as a police officer for the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. He was hired in early 2013 by the California School Employees Association to represent 2,500 employees in seven districts, where according to his resume, he negotiated five multi-million dollar collective bargaining agreements during his short tenure. The National Correctional Employees Union offered Doyle an opportunity to return to the East Coast in 2014, and today he is the NCEU regional director for Maine and New Hampshire. He and his long term partner Amber live on Ross Road. His stepson is a freshman at Thornton Academy.

A Q & A interview follows:

Q: What do you plan to do on Day One as mayor?

A: My goal is to be proactive. I’ve started looking at ways we can improve communication, transparency and ways we can built trust in city government. I’ve begun the conversations and I’ll work with the city administrator to set the agenda and move it forward through collaboration and consultation with the council.

Q: What do you see as issues confronting the city?

A: I’ve heard many people (say) they don’t trust city hall; each individual has a reason. One, a man at the polls was thoroughly disgusted the city allowed a developer to cut down trees and not replace them, even though there is an escrow for trees. Why were they not replaced? That was a question he couldn’t get an answer to.

Q: What are your goals?

A: I’d like to see point-to-point transportation for our seniors and disabled population as a pilot program through Saco Parks and Recreation and then hand it off to Shuttlebus when it is economically feasible. We really value our senior and disabled population(s) and our age friendly programs and want to continue that.

Q: You say you’ll work with the Coastal Waters Commission, Saco Shoreline Commission and other groups on Lovell’s plan that seeks an approach for dealing with erosion in the entire Saco Bay, but want action on Camp Ellis.

A: I want a plan that works but delivers action sooner rather than later. We are losing homes and valuation in the community and our vibrancy in Camp Ellis. (He said dredging could provide some relief and build the commercial district.) That gives us more clout when we go to the federal and state government and say “hey, this area is vibrant and essential to our development.”

Q: You’ve said it is your understanding that Saco is number four on the state’s list for a new elementary school and that three have been funded but it’s unclear if funding will soon be forthcoming or if Saco will have to wait for the next cycle. Your thoughts?

A: The five-year band-aid (of modular classrooms) is 17 years old. (He said he is looking for some state guidance on the process.) I want to know about what the community thinks about consolidation (if that is a requirement) so we can start planning.

Q: There’s the communication piece you’ve have spoken about.

A: We have made some progress on communication with the city website, Facebook page, and the communications office but we have to do more. We have to be clear when we talk about issues before the council. I want council workshops to be televised.

Q:  You’ve said you’d like other committee meetings made available for streaming on the city website, want to build a better relationship with the Saco School Board, and will  look to start hosting mayor’s hours in various city locations, likely starting at Saco Scoop.

A: I will make time for everyone, as long as I can schedule it.

Q: You see the mayor’s role as a facilitator.

A: I want to build collaboration, cooperation, and consensus with the council. I’d like to work on getting us all on the same page to match our goals. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to agree with everything all the time but we shouldn’t have the divided 4 to 3 votes all the time.

Q: What is your vision for the city’s future?

We need to start planning for smart growth and look 20 to 25 years into the future, not just five years out. We need smart goals. Part of smart growth is looking at parking. If we’re revitalizing downtown we have to look at parking … and not react after it happens.

It’s a pie in the sky idea, but a parking garage in a public private relationship with a local bank … put a couple of floors of parking, retail on the ground floor and a park on the top story – gives folks who work in the downtown place(s) to go and decompress.

Communities around us are growing commercial — and so are we, but differently. We want all kinds of business people — we want more restaurants, more things to do, more parks.

My vision transitions us from bedroom to destination community. People are moving here, but still going to Portland to shop … and for evening events. We have to build that here.

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