HOWLAND, Maine — Town leaders hope to have a new town manager to replace departing Town Manager Jane Jones by the end of November.
The Board of Selectmen will be interviewing a second round of candidates — three individuals — on Wednesday, Jones said. The board had interviewed four candidates weeks ago before deciding to re-advertise the position. Jones, who had hoped to be gone by now, agreed to stay on until the position is filled, she said.
Board Chairman Glenn Brawn thanked Jones for her sacrifice.
“Without somebody onboard, her staying onboard is a huge benefit,” Brawn said Saturday. “We would probably have to hire a town manager at a per-diem rate that would be quite high. She is helping us tremendously by sticking around.”
The prime motivator behind the redevelopment of the former Howland tannery, Jones announced in July that she wanted to resign her position effective Nov. 2 to move to the Midwest. Selectmen accepted her letter of resignation shortly thereafter.
The board unanimously voted to hire Jones, Milo’s former town manager, and pay her about $43,000 in April 2009 as part of a one-year contract. She replaced the retired Glenna Armour, who later died after a lengthy illness.
Jones, who now earns $53,000, said at the time that one of her first job performance goals was to research and write grants to get the town some of the millions in federal stimulus money expected to be available locally over the next couple of years.
Her primary goal: To revitalize the town’s economy and take better advantage of its direct access to Interstate 95 and the Piscataquis and Penobscot rivers, assets that would in other contexts be valuable but had not produced any significant economic benefits in recent years.
Brawn said selectmen face replacing Jones at a tricky time. With the key element to their economic development plan — the razing of the tannery building, which was once the site of the town’s largest employer — almost complete and one of the town’s two bridges over the rivers replaced, town leaders must guide the process through redevelopment.
Redevelopment includes helping shepherd the construction of a fish bypass in the Penobscot River, finishing the new landscaping of the tannery site, and finding a development that most suits the land and the town’s economic needs, he said.
Selectmen, Brawn said, are of a mind as to what they want to see in their next town manager and are also availing themselves of advice from Eaton-Peabody, a law firm that does a lot of work with municipalities.