City manager resigns

By Daniel Dunkle | Dec 19, 2013

Rockland — City Manager James Smith submitted a letter of resignation to the City Council Thursday morning, Dec. 19.

He is returning to Brewer to serve as assistant city manager there.

Smith started his job as city manager in March 2012. He has previously served as assistant city manager in Brewer since 2007.

His resignation letter states, as follows:

This letter is to inform you of my resignation as City Manager. Pursuant to my contract, I am providing 30 days’ notice. Saturday, January 18th will be my final day in this position.

I have appreciated the professional challenges of managing the City of Rockland. The opportunity to work with its elected officials and citizens to move the City forward on numerous important issues has been gratifying. I leave knowing the City is in a good position to build upon this momentum.

Reflecting upon the last year and a half, I have worked closely with following department heads on the following key issues:

- Rene Dorr, Recreation Director — the restructuring of the Recreation Department to include responsibilities for public parks, the completion of the Water Intrusion project for the Recreation Building and the redesign of the kids' game room, the restoration and installation of two Civil War Cannon and the salvage and redesign for the skateboard park.

- Terry Pinto, Water Pollution Control Director — established a Storm and Sewer Collection Inspection Team as well as the purchase of the necessary inspection and maintenance equipment for the sewer and storm water collection system.

- Tom Luttrell, Finance Director — the aggressive pursuit of a Capital Improvement Plan, moving the City away from short-term debt borrowing and freeing the necessary cash flow to more effectively manage the capital asset needs, along with the development and implementation of a zero increase of the City’s MIL rate for the current budget by fixing a structural budgetary gap caused by the reduction in Revenue Sharing.

- John Holden, Community Development Director — revising and updating the TIF programs to be in conformance with updated state rules and to allow greater flexibility and creativity for Council to plan and fund needed infrastructure improvements in the Downtown as well as other key infrastructure projects related to the Downtown.

- Greg Blackwell, Public Works Director — the demolition and removal of the former MacDougal School building and remediation of this site to a green space, the completion of the CDBG streetscape project for sidewalk improvements in the downtown, the design and construction of improvements to the storm water collection system in Pen Bay Acres.

- The negotiating of our Collective Bargaining Agreements, which reduced the City’s long-term liabilities for employee health insurance; moving established plans forward in the areas of Harbor Trail, the Public Landing and the Municipal Fish Pier.

In all, it has been my pleasure to lead the most dynamic and talented municipal employees in the Midcoast. Rockland is privileged to have such professional department heads managing the day-to-day operations of the City, consistently delivering quality services on time and under budget. I would also like to give special acknowledgments to Charlie Jordan, Fire Chief, and Bruce Bouchard, Police Chief, for their professionalism and the dedication of their departments in managing the public safety needs of the City of Rockland.

I am appreciative of the hard work and dedication of Ed Glaser, Dave St. Laurent, Al Gourde, Amy Levine, Samantha Mank, John Root, and Dennis Reed, as well as Stuart Sylvester and Kevin Beal.

During my tenure as your City Manager, none of the Department Heads ever flinched at the challenges presented to them. I am confident that they will all remain focused on the vision and goals of the entire community.

My family and I are excited that an opportunity to return to the City of Brewer has presented itself, and I have accepted an offer for the position of Assistant City Manager. This opportunity will allow me to return to the City of Brewer with expanded responsibilities and new professional challenges, which I am eager to begin working on. Returning to Brewer also allows my family to be closer to friends and relatives, an aspect they have greatly missed.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Jim Gamage | Dec 22, 2013 10:21

Lets see, he forgot to mention the jobs eliminated under his leadership.  One of which was the Recreation Departments Maintenance Director (yes, my father).  After 22 years at a position and plans to retire in May he learns of his job elimination by reading an article in the BDN.  When meeting with city manager, he's told of his job being part time and keeping his benefits.  Then, learns that his job has been cut by an e-mail.  Oh, and lets not forget the other positions within the city that were cut to part time or eliminated all together.  And then let me remind everyone of the pay raises voted on and approved by the city council (with Dickerson opposed).  Oh, yes those raises were for the City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney.  Talk about pouring salt on a wound.  Look, I am a very fair guy and I do like a lot of what Mr. Smith did.  This one, I thought could have been handled differently.  Maybe cut equipment instead of jobs.  (Police boat, motorcycles...).  We wish him well and hope we try to attract new leadership that wants to stick around and work to keep Rockland the place to work, live and raise a family.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 19, 2013 13:58

Losing City Manager Smith is a loss to our community as a whole. He has made a real difference while here both for the man he is and the example he has set for the rest of us. Mayor Clayton and James have both placed family first and that is encouraging to see. I wish him, Tammy and the kids our best.

Posted by: Jay Feyler | Dec 19, 2013 13:46

I am sorry to hear that Rockland is losing James, I have  had many professional dealings with him and found him to be a wealth of knowledge. James is willing to work with other communities to share resources and to help whenever is needed, saving all communities a great deal of expense.

Sorry to see him leave the Mid-coast but congratulate him on his renewed position in Brewer.


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