DEXTER, Maine — The Dexter Town Council announced on Thursday that it has chosen Shelley Watson as town manager. Watson has worked in the town office since 1987 and served as town clerk since 1996.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, flattered and nervous,” Watson said Thursday morning.
Watson, 59, will start her duties as town manager on Dec. 1. Kim Hughes will be promoted to town clerk at that time. Watson’s base salary will be $55,000.
She said the relationships she has built in her time in town will benefit her as town manager.
“I think I have a lot of good working relationships with the department heads already as well as with the citizens of Dexter,” she said.
“It was unanimously agreed that she demonstrates great leadership qualities,” Town Councilor Alan Wintle said in a statement. “Shelley also has a great pulse on what is needed for the town of Dexter in economical development. She will be a beneficial part of the local government and takes her oath and duties honestly and seriously.”
Beautifying Main Street, promoting small businesses and keeping taxes low are issues Watson is focused on, she said.
“I just want to do a good job for the community and keep taxes down,” she said. “I care about the town. I’ve lived here for 30 years.”
Watson said she was encouraged to apply for the position.
“Everybody wanted me to try it,” she said. “I’m excited about it, and I’m nervous about it. It’s the next step.”
Wintle said 22 people applied for the position. Town Council Chairman Peter Haskell said applications came from all over the country, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Oklahoma, Texas and Alaska.
Watson will be the third town manager for Dexter since 2011. Dave Pearson resigned Sept. 1, 2011 and promptly joined nearby Sangerville as its town manager. Linda-Jean Briggs was hired two months later and had signed a contract extension through July 1, 2014. However, she resigned last month.
Watson said she will be the sixth town manager since she started working with the town in 1987.