ROCKLAND, Maine — Rockland City Manager James Smith has resigned to return to work as assistant city manager in Brewer.
Smith served as assistant manager in Brewer between 2007 and 2012 before becoming city manager in Rockland in April last year.
In a resignation letter sent to members of the Rockland City Council on Thursday morning, Smith explained that returning to Brewer would allow “my family to be closer to friends and relatives, an aspect they have greatly missed.”
He added that while he was returning to the same job title he held before, the position offered “expanded responsibilities and new professional challenges.”
Smith said his final day on the job in Rockland would be Jan. 18.
“I am disappointed because he brought a lot to the table,” Mayor Larry Pritchett said. “I wish him well.”
When Smith was hired 20 months ago, then Rockland Mayor Brian Harden said Smith had a skill set that was well suited to Rockland’s position as a changing community in a challenging economic climate. Harden cited Smith’s experience at monitoring budgets and managing personnel, capital projects and infrastructure.
Pritchett said the next step for the council will be to appoint an interim manager to serve when Smith departs.
The mayor said he was pleased with the way the last manager search went but he will meet with other councilors before deciding on the search process this time.
Smith stated in his letter to the council that it had been gratifying to work with Rockland officials and residents “to move the city forward on numerous important issues,” including the restructuring of the recreation department, the restoration and installation of two Civil War cannons, demolition of the former MacDougal School building and remediation of that site to a green space, and completion of sidewalk improvements downtown.
In this year’s budget, after state revenue sharing was cut, he proposed and the council approved eliminating an emergency medical technician position, a library technician, and the public works department secretary post. A vacant police department patrol officer position also was cut. Two full-time positions — assistant to the city manager and general assistance administrator — were reduced to part time.