AUGUSTA, Maine -- Colonel Tim Peabody, chief of the Maine Warden Service, announced today he will retire as colonel to accept an assistant professor position at Unity College in Unity, Maine. Peabody's plans are to stay as colonel until July, and help ease the transition for the new colonel.
"While it was difficult to leave, the opportunity to teach at the college where I once was a student is a lifetime opportunity that I could not resist," said Peabody. "I am comfortable with what we have accomplished in my five years as colonel, and know that my successor will be chosen carefully so that we may continue to build on our successes."
Peabody was appointed Colonel in 1998 after a long search and interview process conducted by then-commissioner Lee Perry, who promoted him from sergeant to the rank of Colonel. Peabody, of Northport, is a game warden of over 20 years, and was honored in 2001 by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies with their law enforcement award for outstanding achievements in conservation law enforcement, professionalism and advancement of conservation law enforcement.
"I know I speak for everyone in the department when I say that I'm sorry to see him leave us, but I wish him well in his future endeavor. His leaving is our loss and Unity College's gain. Unity College will be well served by Tim," said Roland D. Martin, commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
During Peabody's tenure, the warden service has improved service to the public through enhanced training, increased supervision, innovative field operations, and financing. Much has been done in the areas of preventative enforcement, public relations, community service and innovative operations. From an employee benefit perspective, Maine wardens now have a personal level critical incident peer support team, an available chaplain, an improved line of duty death program, improved work schedule and holiday pay - all things that were unavailable five years ago. In addition they all have new firearms, cell phones, extreme weather search and rescue gear, new winter sub-zero boots and duty uniforms for the dive and firearms team.
Commissioner Martin said the ideal and successful candidate for the position of warden service colonel is one that possesses strong leadership and management skills as well as good communication skills - a person with a vision on how best to manage the warden service. The colonel of the warden service serves at the pleasure of the commissioner. While Martin could simply select the next colonel, he has stated that the selection process will be deliberate and complete.
"Statutes require that the Game Warden Colonel be selected from among the game wardens of the department, and I intend to appoint someone from within the ranks. We have over 122wardens in the department, and I know that we will find the right person to lead the warden service."
The colonel of the Warden service, according to Martin is a key and vital position in the department. The new colonel will direct over 125 employees and a budget of approximately $12 million dollars. Martin plans to appoint a selection committee that will assist him in the decision of selecting a pool of candidates.
"Governor Baldacci and I are looking for the best qualified individual. A committee will help me select a pool of qualified candidates, and in coordination with the governor, I will be making the final decision," said Martin.
"Colonel Peabody will be with us until the first or second week of July, and it is my goal and desire to have someone in place by June 1," said Martin. "The ideal situation will be to have the new Colonel spend at least one month with the colonel Peabody."
"Colonel Peabody is very dedicated to this agency - he is focused, works long hours and gets the job done," said Martin. "He is respected by members of our legislative committee and is well versed on the statutes dealing with IF&W issues."