BUCKSPORT, Maine — It took two searches and several months longer than planned, but Bucksport officials have selected a new town manager.
Town councilors voted unanimously Thursday night to hire Michael Brennan — city administrator of a community in Iowa — to oversee municipal affairs beginning April 23. Brennan will replace Roger Raymond, who is retiring as town manager after roughly 27 years.
Brennan was selected from a pool of 32 candidates during the second solicitation for applications. Councilors opted to reopen the search process after negotiations failed in late November with the top pick during the initial search.
Mayor David Keene, who is chairman of the Town Council, said Brennan’s name came up repeatedly among council members as they reviewed the candidates. Although five individuals were interviewed, the final selection came down to Brennan and an unidentified resident of nearby Corea.
“It was a long process but the council worked diligently,” Keene said. “We have tried to come up with a candidate that we felt would fit well in the community and I think we have done that.”
The contract approved Thursday provides Brennan with an annual salary of $77,000 plus benefits and a $4,000 allowance for a car, work-related travel, professional dues and other expenses. If Brennan’s performance is deemed satisfactory after the initial six-month probationary period, his salary will rise to $80,000 as of Jan. 1, 2013. He is required to live in Bucksport.
A native of Illinois, Brennan has served since Augusta 2007 as city administrator of Bancroft, a town of roughly 900 residents in north-central Iowa. His previous positions include four years as program administrator at Chestnut Health Systems, an Illinois nonprofit organization that provides services to the mentally ill and people with addictions, as well as three years as program coordinator at The Children’s Foundation in Bloomington, Ill.
He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Louisville in Kentucky and, according to his resume, is in the final, dissertation stage of his doctoral studies in urban and public affairs from the Louisville institution.
Brennan did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Reached by phone after the council vote, Brennan said he was impressed with the services offered in Bucksport and was looking forward to getting to know residents and this area of Maine.
“The city has a lot going for it and seems like a great place to work and live,” Brennan said. “I’m excited to move out there and start my life there.”
It was unclear Thursday night whether the council would ask Raymond to stay past April 23 to help Brennan’s transition into the job.
Council member Byron Vinton III said that with a new town manager after more than a quarter century, people are bound to see changes to the way things have been done.
“We need to remember that new isn’t bad, it is simply new,” Vinton said. “I think Michael Brennan will serve us admirably.”