By Dan Moffett
During Jamie Titcomb’s interviews for the Ocean Ridge town manager’s job last summer, he told commissioners that one of his strongest attributes was an ability to assemble talented teams of employees.
Titcomb didn’t have to look far to choose his first team member in December. He picked Tracey Stevens to be the town’s new clerk after working with her in Melbourne Beach much of last year.
“I’m personally familiar with her work ethic, her personal ethics and her quality of product,” Titcomb said, and he told commissioners he wanted to “find the most credentialed and experienced” clerk among the 12 candidates who applied.
Before moving to Melbourne Beach last year, Stevens spent 11 years as a town clerk and municipal employee in Maine, working in very nontropical communities such as Fairfield, Lewiston, Waterville and Augusta. She was named Maine Town Clerk of the Year in 2014, after winning Rookie Town Clerk of the Year in 2007.
“I was a certified instructor for voter registration,” Stevens said, “and worked alongside the deputy secretary of state to make sure all of the clerks and deputy clerks in Maine were properly trained.”
Town commissioners unanimously approved Stevens’ hiring at a salary of $65,500 during the Dec. 7 meeting. She replaces Karen Hancsak, who is retiring after 35 years as an Ocean Ridge employee.
Unlike Hancsak, however, Stevens will not be in charge of producing the town’s budgets. That task will fall to Titcomb beginning this year.
The next step in overhauling Ocean Ridge’s administrative lineup is expected to come during the Jan. 4 town meeting when commissioners consider a replacement for Town Attorney Ken Spillias, who is retiring in February. Seven applicants are in the running for that job.
In other business:
• The town will have a contested commission seat in the March 15 municipal election. Steve Coz has filed to challenge incumbent Vice Mayor Lynn Allison. Coz, who serves as an alternate on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, has been an outspoken proponent of increased beach controls and improving the town’s response to traffic problems from growth in communities across the bridge.
Allison has been vice mayor since 2010, after first winning a seat on the commission in 2004. Commissioners serve three-year terms.
• The town will hold a public workshop at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 to consider restricting access to Old Ocean Boulevard. The commission will hear residents’ comments on Mayor Geoff Pugh’s proposal to turn Old Ocean into a promenade.
Meanwhile, the town has closed the entrance to Midlane Road at the Woolbright Road intersection for a six-month trial period.
• Commissioners approved spending $117,000 for three new police vehicles — two 2016 Ford Interceptor Explorers and a new Dodge Charger sedan. Police Chief Hal Hutchins said about $4,000 of the cost will go toward upgrading the vehicles with radios that are compliant with the regional agency network.