NEW GLOUCESTER — Town Manager Brenda Fox-Howard is resigning from her position effective April 2 and starting in her new role as Casco’s town manager April 5.

“It is my plan to not renew a contract with the Town of New Gloucester at this time,” Fox-Howard wrote in a letter to staff dated Feb. 10 and made public at a  Selectboard meeting Monday. “I hope that at the very least, you feel as though I have added some value during my time here with you.”

Fox-Howard replaced interim Town Manager Paul First last May and signed a one-year contract with a starting salary of $78,000. Her contract was set to expire May 18 of this year.

Selectboard members Karen Gilles, Linda Chase and Peter Bragdon voted to accept her resignation “with regret” Monday night. Tammy Donovan voted “no,” but offered no explanation.

Chairperson Gilles could not be reached for comment. The board will discuss the next steps for a town manager search at next Monday’s meeting.

In the 10 months since Fox-Howard came to New Gloucester, she has overseen a tumultuous budget season that resulted in the closure of the town library in September, the resignations of former Fire Chief Toby Martin and former Selectman George Colby and the hiring of a new fire chief, library director and assistant librarian.


Colby, who resigned earlier this month, was facing a recall vote for what some residents said were “racist” comments he made during a December meeting and for racial slurs he used in a 10-year-old email exchange. The Selectboard formally accepted his resignation Monday night and canceled the March recall election. Colby’s seat will remain vacant until the next municipal election on June 8.

A press release posted to Casco’s website Tuesday announced that Fox-Howard was the Selectboard’s “unanimous choice”  for town manager. The board will approve her three-year contract with a starting salary of $97,000 at its March 2 meeting.

Fox-Howard will replace Courtney O’Donnell, who left last September after a year on the job.

Casco hired municipal consultant Don Gerrish of the Augusta consulting firm Eaton Peabody to assist in the search and to serve as interim town manager. The town paid a one-time consulting fee of $6,000 and has been paying Gerrish $600 a day to come in three days a week since September.

According to the town’s calendar, Gerrish has served as interim manager for a total of 54 days since September, or a total cost of $32,400. If he continues to come in three days a week until April 5, it will cost the town an additional $9,000.

The position was advertised three times for a fee of $450 each time. By Fox-Howard’s first day, the search and interim manager fees combined will have cost the town a total of $48,750.


“I am excited for our choice and for her coming to the town of Casco to serve as town manager,” Selectboard Vice Chairperson Mary Fernandes said Wednesday morning.

Chairperson Thomas Peaslee said that the search was “a hard process for everyone involved,” being just one year after the Selectboard’s search for 41-year manager Dave Morton’s replacement.

Fox-Howard, who lives in Kennebunk, said Tuesday evening that her move to Casco is a “different direction for the type of work I’ll do.”

“I just think it’s a good thing for me and my family,” she said.

She declined to comment further on her tenure in New Gloucester and her reasons for leaving.

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