SKOWHEGAN — Trisha Austin, 19-year veteran of Skowhegan town government, has been named the town’s director of finance and human resources.

Austin, 47, takes over the position held by Christine Almand, who was appointed town manager earlier this month. Austin started May 19 at a salary of $44,000. She will serve for one year during Almand’s probationary period, and possibly take over the position permanently after that.

“I’m excited that they gave me the opportunity to do it for a year,” she said. “I’ll have to do a lot of learning on the fly; it’s definitely a challenge, it’s a lot more work than I did in the other room and a lot more with figures and numbers and personnel.”

Almand said Austin, who was secretary to the director of Economic and Community Development, was the clear choice to move into the post. She said she appointed Austin, with the blessings of the Board of Selectmen.

“Trisha has the capacity to do the job — she’s always stepped up whenever the town needed her,” Almand said. “I worked hand in hand with her on many issues in my office previously. Whether it be accounts payable or payroll, she’s always stepped up to help out.”

The town of Skowhegan has a roster of about 75 employees, including part-time workers. Almand said Austin will take over the job of preparing the town’s budget with Almand for Town Meeting next year.

This year’s $8.97 million municipal budget was prepared by Almand for the June 9 Town Meeting.

Dena Rich, of Madison, will fill in at Austin’s desk in the development office.

Austin is a graduate of Skowhegan Area High School and attended the University of Maine at Farmington with a major in elementary education. She came to work at the development office in 1995. She briefly served as deputy town clerk and treasurer and mounted an unsuccessful bid for town clerk in the June 2009 elections.

She is married to Harvey Austin. They have two children, 21 and 17.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 | dharlow@centralmaine.com | Twitter: @Doug_Harlow