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Michael O’Neil re-appointed as Lisbon Beach and Campground Director

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LISBON — The Lisbon Town Council voted in favor of reappointing Lisbon Beach and Campground Director Michael J. O’Neil at Wednesday’s meeting, ending months of speculation over whether it would seek another person to fill the position.

Last week, Mr. O’Neil said that if the Town Council decided to advertise the position, he would walk away.

The motion to reappoint Mr. O’Neil was made by Councilor Gary J. Jarvis and seconded by Councilor Robert O. McNeil. Town Supervisor James W. Armstrong also voted in favor of the appointment.

Councilors Susan M. Duffy and Nathanael Putney were absent.

Mr. McNeil said the Town Council will meet with Mr. O’Neil in the coming months, before the campground reopens May 1, to write up an employee handbook detailing the expectations of the director.

“That’s fair,” Mr. O’Neil said of the decision.

Mr. O’Neil said he was always hopeful that the Town Council would vote in favor of keeping him on board.

“This is something that I took on because it’s my life,” he said. “I have a desire to keep going with the beach. I feel really good about taking care of [campers] and dealing with them and moving on with the beach and campground.”

Seven people attended Wednesday’s meeting to support Mr. O’Neil.

Lisbon resident Susan McLear said she has camped at the beach every year since 1981 and Mr. O’Neil has done an admirable job of making the beach a destination for people in the region and even around the world.

“He shouldn’t have to apply to a job advertisement,” she said to the Town Council before it voted on the issue. “I would take that as an insult.”

Mr. McNeil said, “I think [the beach and campground is] one of Lisbon’s best assets. I think Mike does a great job.”

Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Armstrong agreed that getting something in writing detailing the expectations of the campground director would help solve some of the personality conflicts that have been ongoing for several years.

“I’m not going to air our dirty linen in the paper,” Mr. Armstrong said. “We’ve had some problems with Mike.”

But Mr. Armstrong said he hopes for a better relationship going forward.

Mr. O’Neil said that he still needs to speak with the Town Council before he officially accepts the appointment, but that he has a desire to come back. “I’m not a quitter,” he said.

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