GREENVILLE, Maine — Longtime Greenville Town Manager John Simko will step down from his position in November to pursue a career in the local composites industry and spend more time with his family.
Simko said in his letter of resignation this week that while his years as town manager have allowed him to improve the community, it has taken so much of his time that he has been unable to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
“Over time, town management goes from being a title to an identity, and it becomes very difficult to enjoy time with family in the town that you manage,” Simko said in the letter.
Simko started work as the town manager in April 2000, having served previously in that same position in Sangerville.
He submitted his letter of resignation to the town selectmen on Wednesday but will stay on for 90 days until Nov. 3 to give the board time to find a suitable replacement.
Alan McBrierty, vice chairman of the Greenville Board of Selectmen, was sympathetic to his colleague’s desire for a change of pace.
“I have to appreciate the reasons he has for wanting to do something different,” McBrierty said Thursday, adding that the board should respect Simko’s decision.
During his tenure, Simko played a part in several important infrastructure projects, including improvements to the Junction Wharf, the construction of a new town office building and the reconstruction of both runways at the municipal airport.
In May 2008, Simko submitted his view of what Greenville might look like in 2018, highlighting his forward-thinking mindset as a leader. Titled “Greenville: A Great Place to Live, Work, and Raise a Family in 2018,” the plan envisioned improvements involving the town’s rail service, expansion of broadband Internet service to the area, the development of alternative energy sources for the town, lengthening of the local airport’s main runway and diversification of recreational opportunities in Greenville.
In the closing remarks of his plan, Simko called for the community to work together for the future of the town.
“The strength of our community rests in its diversity of ideas,” Simko wrote. “Cooperation and commitment among community members working together will harness that strength to move us to where we want to go. Where do you want to go?”
Having been a member of the board when Simko was hired, McBrierty has seen the impact of his leadership on the town. In particular, McBrierty said Simko’s efforts to foster economic development in the town have been “very aggressive,” a factor that has contributed to his various successes.
“I was on the board when we hired him,” McBrierty said. “It was so obvious at the time that he was the guy we needed.”
Simko, 40, said he briefly considered pursuing a career in law upon resigning as town manager, but the financial cost and time associated with returning to school would be too great a strain on his family. Instead, he has accepted a position as director of business development at Greenville-based Pepin Associates, where he will be charged with marketing the composite products the company has developed for the aeronautics industry.
In a statement, John Pepin, president of Pepin Associates, said he was excited that Simko will join his six-employee team. The company is under contract with the Navy and several companies to produce composite materials used in modern jet aircraft.
Previously, Simko has served as president of both the Composite Technology Centers Corp. and the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council.
Pepin said in the statement that Simko’s “dedication to job growth in this region along with his knowledge of the composites field will serve well both our company and this community.”
McBrierty said there are “some loose ends that have to be tied up” over the next few days before the town could start the search for Simko’s replacement.
“John will assist in finding a replacement … to make it so that it’s done right,” McBrierty said.
And while Simko’s professional life will be moving from the public to the private sector, those who have come to know him as a servant to his community need not worry.
In his letter of resignation, Simko said he would continue his work as both a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Greenville Fire Department.