Retiring Town Administrator Barbara Ashey stands with new hire James Kossuth outside the Northport Town Office. Courtesy of town of Northport

NORTHPORT — At the Northport Selectboard meeting on Monday, July 12, the municipal officers unanimously voted to appoint James Kossuth as the new town administrator. The current Town Administrator Barbara Ashey is retiring after 11 years in the role, following a 6-year tenure as Northport town clerk.

Kossuth moved to Northport full-time in 2020, after decades of regular visits to his wife’s family’s home on Beech Hill Road. He and his family have been quick to show their commitment to the town they love, with James’ wife Ann Frenning Kossuth chairing the Northport Broadband Committee and James joining the Northport Volunteer Fire Department. His diverse experience as a practicing attorney, head of the Medford Historical Commission and operations manager for one of Boston University’s research centers should prove helpful when it comes to navigating the technical and personal aspects of managing the day-to-day and long-term activities of the town.

Regarding his appointment as town administrator, Kossuth said he is “honored to be joining Northport’s experienced and dedicated administrative team. It is humbling to follow someone as talented and beloved as Barbara Ashey, but I look forward to meeting the challenges of the job and working with the municipal officers to serve the town.” He added that in the 20 years he has been coming to Northport he’s seen so much in the community to admire, and is “thrilled to have this opportunity to help shape its future.”

Kossuth will begin in his new role on Aug. 2, spending a few days working hand-in-hand with outgoing administrator Ashey before her official retirement on Aug. 6. 

Vice Chairperson of the Selectboard Jeanine Tucker said, “I don’t think anyone can fully appreciate the true value of the gift of someone’s time and dedication to others until the giving has come to an end. My heart is both heavy and full.”

Shelly Patten, chairperson of the municipal officers, is looking forward to working with Kossuth “to approach our town’s needs and challenges with a broad vision and grounded sense of community.”

Northport’s newest municipal  officer Breanna Pinkham Bebb, added that “James impressed us during the interview process with not only his experience, but with his understanding and appreciation of the real character of our small town.”

Kossuth’s initial contract will run through the end of the town’s fiscal year (June 2022) and the municipal officers say that they are excited to welcome him to the team of talented and experienced staff at the town office.