BATH — Longtime Public Works Director Peter Owen has been named interim city manager in the wake of City Manager Bill Giroux’s retirement.
Owen, who has served as acting manager in the past, is replacing Giroux temporarily until a permanent replacement is found. Deputy Public Works Director Lee Leiner will step into the role of public works director.

City Council unanimously approved the two appointments with little drama.

“This will really buy us some peace of mind to not feel rushed,” said Council Chair Mari Eosco.

Giroux served as city manager for 11 years, and a long list of developments were built during his tenure. Recent projects such as the Bath Iron Works Ultra Hall building, Riverfront Condominiums, multiple hotels and a downtown medical office building were all done on his watch.
Giroux said he was grateful for the opportunity, and that whoever the city hires will be lucky to have the job. “We have good people here,” he said, and thanked councilors for their cooperation over the years. He was also handed the key to the city, and was given a proclamation in recognition of his service.

Giroux said he plans to take some time off and travel before he decides what he’ll do next.

“I’ve got almost 30 years in municipal government, and over 11 in Bath, and I just had been feeling like it would be a good time to take a little break,” he said last month. “I expect to manage again, I’m quite sure I’ll do something. But I kind of want to wait, and travel a little bit and see what I feel like in a year or so.”

City Council also voted unanimously in favor of first passage of a $700,000 bond ordinance to buy a new firetruck to replace one of the fire department’s rescue pumper trucks that has been deemed unsafe after inspections showed signs of deteriorating equipment.

Initially, the city expected to keep the truck for another year and purchase a new one in the next budget cycle. But the truck is simply worn out after years of use, Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud said.

“We don’t think it’s safe for our people to operate, and we don’t think it’s safe to drive down the road.”

In the meantime, the department has contacted other departments for mutual aid, according to Renaud. “We should have a replacement in our station within the next 30 calendar days,” he said.