Award-winning Topsham town manager announces resignation, heading to Washington

Cornell Knight, Topsham's town manager for nearly three years, is resigning to join his wife, who works in Washington, D.C.
Alex Lear | The Forecaster
Cornell Knight, Topsham's town manager for nearly three years, is resigning to join his wife, who works in Washington, D.C.
Posted Dec. 09, 2013, at 3:32 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 09, 2013, at 10:17 p.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine — Cornell Knight, who has been Topsham’s town manager since February 2011 and was named Maine’s manager of the year last year, has resigned, effective next March.

Knight on Monday said he plans to move to Washington, D.C., where his wife, Kay Rand, is chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Knight, 57, announced his departure Thursday, Dec. 5, at a Board of Selectmen meeting. He said his decision did not reflect any dissatisfaction with his job, and that he was “very pleased” with the work, and with his relationships with the Board of Selectmen and staff.

“We’re starting to see a lot more business development picking up,” he said, also praising the town’s recently passed downtown and housing tax increment financing arrangements, and business development at the former Navy Annex property.

“We’re in good financial shape,” the manager added. “Things are very positive.”

The board tapped Planning Director Rich Roedner to serve as interim manager.

Knight will work on a fiscal 2015 budget before he leaves, and selectmen asked him to obtain proposals from consultants for them to consider to assist with the process of hiring his replacement.

Donald Russell, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, on Monday said he will miss Knight.

“We were quite surprised to hear that he was leaving, but understand why he needs to move down to Washington with his wife,” he said. “It’s going to be quite a void to fill.”

Knight, who last year received the Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year award from the Maine Town, City and County Manager’s Association, said he does not have a new job lined up.

Knight replaced Jim Ashe as Topsham’s manager. He lives in Augusta, grew up in Cape Elizabeth and started running towns right after graduating from college. He began his career in Baileyville, then served in Hallowell in the 1980s, followed by seven years in Jay and 12 in Winthrop.

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