GOULDSBORO — Andrea Sirois, who holds a master’s degree in public administration and brings three years experience working in municipal and state government in Arizona, is training alongside the town’s interim town manager, Eve Wilkinson, in a transitional phase to succeed her.
On June 4, Gouldsboro selectmen met via the Zoom online platform and held an executive session, after which they voted 5-0 to make an offer to Sirois. The plan is to have her work first with Wilkinson to get a handle on the town meeting/selectmen form of government, the town manager’s duties as well as the town office’s daily functions and services.
Sirois was among 40 applicants for the town manager’s job previously held by Sherri Cox. Two-thirds of the applicants were from out of state, including Ohio and Texas.
Wilkinson took over as interim town manager last August and her current contract expires June 30. She expects Sirois to be appointed as town manager after the transitional phase. Sirois is currently being paid an hourly wage but will receive a salary and benefits once she assumes the town manager’s position.
Dana Rice, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Sirois stood out among the applicants because of her diverse experience working in state and municipal government. He also liked her enthusiasm.
“We interviewed a lot of people and took our time. Her credentials are good,” he said Tuesday. “She was very interested and really wanted the job. Personality is a big part of it. I am very hopeful that she is going to be great for the town of Gouldsboro.”
Rice called Wilkinson “the lifesaver of the town” for once again stepping up and serving as town manager until a successor could be found.
Originally from Nevada, Sirois has spent most of her life in the Western states of Arizona and California as well as stints in Australia and Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia. Her own parents and siblings are scattered out West except for a sister who lives in Washington, D.C.
Sirois earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and minored in environmental studies. She earned her master’s from the University of Arizona. Settling in Tucson, she worked in the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, where she helped assemble the state’s 2019 budget, which totaled $67.2 billion. Her last job was as a management assistant for the Pima County town of Marana, with a population of nearly 35,000. She also worked for the assistant town manager in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley, numbering over 41,000 inhabitants.
Sirois’s partner David Shepardson, who hails from Hermon and previously served with the Arizona Army National Guard, had hoped to come back to Maine. The couple and their golden retriever and mix-breed rescue dog made the move last fall and are living in Hermon. Shepardson works for Ron Bragg Carpentry in Holden.
Since arriving in Maine, Sirois has earned various professional certificates from the Maine Municipal Association. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she became the Grassroots Pandemic Volunteering network’s outreach coordinator, handling social media and communications, tracking data, ordering supplies and arranging deliveries. To date, the group has produced 8,716 face shields and 6,797 ear guards. She also has volunteered for the American Red Cross of New England and Bangor’s Blood Donation Center.
On June 9, Sirois began training with Wilkinson in the Gouldsboro town office. Accustomed to towns with a mayor-council form of government, she is learning how the Board of Selectmen runs the town on a day-to-day basis while town residents have the final say on the budget, zoning changes and other major items at the annual town meeting. The fact that the town issues marriage licenses as well as certified copies of other licenses is new to her too.
Sirois has met lots of people and has found them friendly and welcoming.
“I am excited to learn,” Sirois said Monday. “I am really glad I got to work with Eve. That opportunity is important to me. I believe in embracing community culture.”
Wilkinson said selecting one of the many candidates was tough and selectmen spent many hours reviewing resumes and interviewing applicants.
“Andrea seems to be a good fit for our community and staff,” she said Tuesday. “I think folks will find her approachable and genuine.”