June 23, 2018
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Richard Couch leaves post as town manager of Stockton Springs after two years

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine —The small coastal community of Stockton Springs has parted ways with its town manager of two years, a municipal official confirmed Thursday.

Richard Couch ended his employment at Stockton Springs in May, according to Selectman Wayne Kraeger, who said officials will begin advertising for a new town manager within a few weeks. The full-time position carries the responsibility of managing the day-to-day business for the 1,600-person community.

Kraeger declined to give specifics about why Couch is no longer working for the town.

On Friday, Couch said because of a separation agreement with the town, neither he nor town officials can share details — other than that it was a mutual agreement to part ways.

“I was a contract employee who served at the pleasure of the select board, and we had some management style differences, I think,” he said. “There’s some wonderful people in that town. I wish that town nothing but the best.”

Prior to heading up Stockton Springs, Couch worked for the New York Department of Labor and the American Cancer Society, among other positions.

Joshua “Skip” Day III is acting as interim town manager — the second time in three years he’s filled that role. Day also filled in for a few months in 2012, after former manager Joe Hayes resigned.

Kraeger said when the community hires its next manager, they will be looking for a people person who is good with numbers.

“Those are the two biggest things,” he said.

Stockton Springs — with its high property valuation, small population and lack of industry — has been struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing costs for Regional School Unit 20, from which it is currently trying to withdraw. Kraeger said the majority of his community’s property taxes are spent on schools.

“That’s what we don’t have a lot of control over,” he said of school costs.

The community is also having a conversation about doing a townwide property reassessment, because the last assessment was done in 2006, before the Great Recession and when the real estate market was way up, he said.

But first, Stockton Springs officials are preparing for the upcoming annual town meeting, which will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 14, at the Stockton Springs Elementary School.

Voting on the municipal budget is on the warrant, as is voting on resolutions to resolve some language from the land-use ordinance and site plan review, Kraeger said.

“There’s nothing really contentious,” he said of the warrant items.

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