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Town Hall chamber dedicated to manager Michael McGovern

Michael K. McGovern, left, receives Legislative Sentiment for his service from Sen. Rebecca Millett, far right, and Rep. Kim Monaghan

Click play button to view video presented at Town Manager Michael McGovern's retirement reception Dec. 6

Michael McGovern, town manager since 1985, will leave many legacies when he closes his Town Hall office door for the last time Dec. 30. Not the least of which will be in the chamber, one floor below.

The Town Council on Dec. 12, 2016 voted to dedicate the chamber - site of more than a thousand meetings of Cape Elizabeth's governing body that convened during his tenure - to the manager who started here as a college intern in 1977.

"This room is dedicated to Michael K. McGovern in honor of his dedicated service to the citizens of Cape Elizabeth as town manager from May 1985 to December 2016," will be inscribed on a plaque to be installed in the council chamber.

McGovern gave his resignation notice, effective Dec. 31, in August. At the Dec. 12 Town Council meeting, his last as town manager, McGovern was greeted with a standing ovation and a legislative sentiment presented by Rep. Kim Monaghan and Sen. Rebecca Millett.

"Under Mike's guidance and leadership for the last 31 years, Cape Elizabeth has grown steadily as a vibrant community with outstanding fiscal management, municipal services, facilities and schools while maintaining its historical roots and character," Jessica Sullivan, longest sitting councilor, said. "He has been an outstanding manager and gifted leader who has consistently inspired us all - employees, volunteers and elected officials - to serve the people of Cape Elizabeth to the very best of our abilities," she said.

Approximately 200 people attended a farewell reception for McGovern at the Purpoodock Club Dec. 6. Many were former town councilors, including Henry Adams, chairman in 1978, who phoned McGovern at the University of Maine at Orono after his internship to ask if he would assist the interim town manager while the town looked for a permanent one.

David Sherman, another former councilor, recounted McGovern's ability to respond knowledgably, quickly and courteously to elected officials and to citizens alike.

"Because of his constant promotion of, and adherence to, transparency and integrity in municipal process, Mike has created a culture of faith in local government for Cape Elizabeth citizens during his 31 years," Sherman said, sharing a reflection from current councilor Sullivan. "These will be known as the 'McGovern Years' and will be the standard of excellence for Cape Elizabeth’s future."

After his remarks Sherman announced a gift of $3,725, collected from 25 current and former members of the Town Council, given on behalf of the town to the Rotary Foundation's PolioPlus Fund in McGovern's honor.

"Not only has Michael been a tremendous asset for our town, but he has also managed to devote countless hours to the Rotary, all in an effort to improve the lives of others," said Sherman in a letter to the Rotary Foundation.

Several of McGovern's family attended the celebration. A video slideshow of projects completed for the town under his direction was part of the presentation.