CUMBERLAND, Maine — Alyssa Tibbetts, who started in the town office as an intern a decade ago and ultimately became assistant town manager, will step down from that position Jan. 3 to join a Portland law firm.
Tibbetts — whose mother, Nadeen Daniels, was Cumberland’s town clerk and human resources officer until 2010 — will work in municipal practice with Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry, which has represented Cumberland for more than 40 years, Tibbetts said.
“Jensen Baird had an opening and approached me with the opportunity,” Tibbetts said via email last week. “I was excited to take the skills and experiences I’ve gained on the municipal side and put them to use in private practice. I’ve worked with many of the attorneys at the firm for several years now and am excited to be a part of their team and their outstanding practice.”
She said she and Town Manager Bill Shane have not yet completely coordinated a strategy for replacing her.
“Some duties will be absorbed internally, but many of them I will continue to do as outside counsel,” Tibbetts explained. “I don’t believe the assistant manager role is going to be replaced, at least not immediately.”
Tibbetts, 29, lives with her husband in Dover, N.H. When she was a child her mother was city clerk in South Portland, so Tibbetts spent a lot of time after school at South Portland City Hall.
“I never thought much of it,” Tibbetts recalled. “It wasn’t City Hall to me, it was just where Mom worked. I was always very proud of her roles in South Portland, Portland and Cumberland, and I was inspired by her work ethic and commitment to the communities in which she worked.
“Municipal government was just a part of my life from a young age and it didn’t always occur to me that I would make it a part of my own career in this way,” Tibbetts added. “But I’ve witnessed the impacts that [Daniels] has made on individuals and the communities in which she has worked and I hope to be able to carry on that legacy.”
Tibbetts’s interest in the law was sparked in high school, when she took part in a mock trial competition. She graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 2009, and started full-time work at Town Hall that fall after passing the Maine Bar exam.
She has worn many hats, most of them at the same time — director of communications, economic development and human resources, as well as serving as staff attorney and, starting early this year, assistant manager.
“The thing that I enjoyed most about my job in Cumberland was the opportunity to have a direct impact on the community and to work on a wide variety of policy and governance issues,” Tibbetts said. “I will miss working directly with members of the community, including residents and business owners, as well as municipal officials, but hope to still have many opportunities to continue to do so in my new role.”
Shane said his feelings about Tibbetts’ departure are mixed.
“I am excited for her, but I will miss having an attorney on staff; a person with such high moral character; and a strong work ethic,” he said in an email, noting that Cumberland is fortunate she will continue working with the town.
“I don’t have to deal with a lot of background information on land use changes or contracts or personnel issues,” Shane said. “Our legal budget will need to be adjusted next year by [$10,000-$15,000] in the general fund to account for her loss.”
Shane said Tibbetts has an “awesome opportunity.”
“She is highly intelligent and also the fastest learner of new information I have ever seen,” he said. “She is by far the most talented person I have had the privilege to work with in my municipal career. She will do more amazing things and leaves us with some amazing accomplishments for someone who is just getting started in her professional career.”