Bill Kitchen, a marketing consultant and former Machias selectman, has been hired as Machias’ next town manager.
Kitchen was initially hired as the interim town manager in Machias in May, when previous town manager Christine Therrien departed. Machias’ board of select people voted to remove “interim” from Kitchen’s title on Sept. 22, he said.
The hire follows a period of upheaval for Machias, with the departure of its most recent police chief, who held the post for 20 months, and its former town manager.
As town manager, Kitchen will be paid an annual salary of nearly $70,000, the same as his predecessor, he said. Like all new town hires in Machias, he will have a 6-month probationary period.
During his time as interim town manager, Kitchen has been tasked with hiring a new police chief to replace Todd Hand, who left the position in July. That position is expected to be filled soon. Kitchen said he has offered someone the job and expects to publicly announce who the new chief will be later this week.
Kitchen was previously a selectman for Machias from June 2017 through September 2020. He also worked as a reporter and photographer for the weekly Machias Valley News Observer from 2014 through 2019, according to his bio on LinkedIn.
Kitchen also has experience in reality television. He was featured in 2015 on a National Geographic show called “The Watch,” in which he lived alone for 8 weeks at an abandoned amusement park in Princeton, West Virginia. Kitchen was not allowed to contact the outside world while he stayed in a motorhome on the property — which closed in 1966 and was rumored to be haunted — and was tasked with mowing, fixing fences and keeping out trespassers who might be looking to connect with the resident spirits.
Kitchen got the TV gig after living alone for 16 months, from the summer of 2011 to the fall of 2012, in the Little River Lighthouse on an island off the village of Cutler. Before that, the Connecticut native worked as an investment banker, owned a nightclub and restaurant in Virginia, worked as a music promoter in Washington D.C. and New York, and got to know Bill and Hilary Clinton when he produced Bill Clinton’s inaugural balls after he was elected president in 1992 and 1996.
Kitchen moved to Maine in the early 2000s and, since 2002, has been owner and operator of KitchenSync Consulting in Machias, offering marketing and public relations to national and Maine businesses and organizations.
Paula Johnson-Rolfe, chairperson of the town’s select board, did not respond to calls for comment.