2017-04-14 / Community

McGovern named outstanding Cape citizen

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – At its April 10 meeting, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council unveiled a plaque that will hang in its meeting hall, naming the room in honor of former town manager Michael McGovern, who retired in December after 31 years on the job.

In May 1978, McGovern parleyed a college internship at town hall the previous summer – landed just two days after his graduation from the University of Maine – into an offer to become assistant town manager. Councilor Jessica Sullivan once said that since ascending to the town’s top job in 1985, McGovern has attended “well over 1,000 regular council meetings and workshops.” Along the way, he worked with 56 individual town councilors, she noted.

A former president of both the Maine Municipal Association and the Maine Town and City Management Association, McGovern was named Manager of the Year by the latter group in 1993.

“We are very grateful and forevermore we will be holding our meetings in the McGovern Chamber,” Council Chairman Jamie Garvin said, in presenting the plaque.

“Good to be here and good to leave in a few minutes. Good luck with the budget,” McGovern joked, when invited to the podium, drawing a round of laughter to go along with the standing ovation he received.

“I very much appreciated it,” McGovern said. “It was 40 years ago this month that I first came to this room as an intern, and it’s been quite a lot of enjoyable times. This is quite an honor.”

However, while McGovern knew about the room dedication, voted on by the council in December, he was taken by surprise by an additional honor as Garvin announced McGovern as the 2017 recipient of the Ralph Gould Award for Outstanding Citizenship. Handed out annually by the town council and named for its first recipient in 1986, the Gould Award recognizes individuals who make a difference in the Cape Elizabeth community through volunteer service.

“There’s a long and distinguished list of names of recipients who have received this award before you,” Garvin told McGovern, “but I would say any such list, no matter how lengthy, would be totally incomplete without your name being added to it, which we choose to do here today.”

“One of the great joys of having worked so long in this community is that I have had the honor of knowing every single recipient of this award,” McGovern said. “It’s wonderful to be in company of such great folks.”

McGovern, 61, who stayed on as a consultant though the budget process to aid new town manager Matthew Sturgis, remains a fixture within the local and international chapters of the Rotary Club, for whom he has traveled the world leading efforts to combat polio.

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