SKOWHEGAN — Prior to the swearing-in of the new town manager Tuesday night, selectmen and members of the audience joked about how many duties she will have when she starts work Wednesday morning. The town manager in Skowhegan also serves as tax collector, public safety commissioner, emergency management director, purchasing agent, general assistance director, agent to overseers of the poor and tree warden.
“Couldn’t we add some more stuff on there?” board Vice Chairman New Graf joked.
Christine L. Almand countered, saying she will continue to serve as the town’s finance and human resource director until someone can be found to replace her.
With that, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Almand, 35, the new Skowhegan town manager. Almand is the second woman to be town manager in Skowhegan. Patricia Dickey, who retired in September 2004, also held the position.
Almand took the oath of office administered by Town Clerk Gail Pelotte.
The five-member board handled the interview process, with guidance from Maine Municipal Association, and made the selection from a field of more than 30 candidates.
She succeeds former Town Manager John Doucette Jr., who stepped down in January.
On hand for the swearing-in Tuesday night were municipal department heads, including new Fire Chief Richard Fowler Jr., who started work in Skowhegan on Monday. Fowler was joined by fire captains and by Police Chief Ted Blais, Deputy Chief Donald Bolduc, several police officers and detectives.
Almand starts Wednesday at a salary of about $67,000, which is $21,000 more than she was making as finance and human resource director. Her probationary contract is for 12 months.
Also on hand for the swearing-in was her father-in-law, Wilson Almand, of Hartland; Almand’s daughters, Brittany and Ashley; and her son, William.
“We’re here to see her get sworn in,” Wilson Almand said. “I think she’s got her work cut out for her; she’s going to work hard. But she’s more than capable of doing it.”
Almand said she received her training on the job at various positions since her high school days in Woodbridge, Va., where she was a retail store’s department head while still a teenager. She briefly attended Northern Virginia Community College but does not have a degree. Before she was hired in Skowhegan, Almand worked in accounting and quality control at Huhtamaki packaging in Waterville and was a bookkeeper for two nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.
As finance director in Skowhegan, Almand worked with a $9.7 million annual municipal budget. As human resource director, she handled 59 full-time employees and 75 town workers overall.