FAIRFIELD — Josh Reny, a Fairfield native and town manager for the past five years, will step down within a month after accepting a position as assistant city manager of South Portland.

The Town Council accepted Reny’s resignation following an executive session at its Aug. 12 meeting, but his resignation and move to South Portland was announced in a news release Wednesday. Reny’s last day in town will be Friday, Sept. 18.

In an interview Wednesday, Reny, 34, said leaving Fairfield was bittersweet.

“It is really difficult walking away from your hometown,” Reny said. “There are not that many managers who get the privilege of working for their hometowns.”

“Professionally, I’m just ready to take the next step and broaden my experience a little bit in a bigger community,” he added.

In a written statement Wednesday, South Portland City Manager James Gailey said Reny’s knowledge of business development and management experience will be strong assets for the position.

“Josh is community-focused and only wants what’s best for the community,” Gailey said. “He has a proven track record in Fairfield and his understanding of public-private partnerships and citizen involvement are strong aspects of his skills and abilities.”

A Fairfield council discussion of Reny’s resignation was not included on the agenda for its Aug. 12 meeting. Reny said the issue came up because he received a conditional offer of employment earlier that day, and he wanted to discuss it with the council as soon as possible. An executive session was added to the agenda at the meeting and councilors voted 4-1 to accept Reny’s resignation, with Councilor Michael Taylor opposed the motion.

Reny said he has been “discreet” about his resignation because he had only received a conditional offer at the time.

Town Council Chairman Robert Sezak said Reny’s resignation came as a surprise and Reny’s time in Fairfield’s town government was “nothing but positive.”

Under Reny’s tenure, Fairfield’s general fund balance grew by $1.7 million and the town received more than $500,000 in grants for a variety of projects, according to a statement from the town. Reny also oversaw a downtown revitalization program that included razing some dilapidated downtown buildings and designing new public spaces, as well as restoring the historic Gerald Hotel on Main Street.

Taylor said his vote against accepting Reny’s resignation was “symbolic” and he understood the reasons for Reny’s departure.

“He’s started to do a lot of good things for the town, and it’s too bad to lose him at this point,” Taylor said. “But it’s an opportunity for him to move up. I’m not going to stand in his way.”

Reny took his first job as Fairfield’s director of economic development in 2008, after receiving a graduate degree from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to his public service career, Reny served in the Maine Air National Guard at the engineering and installation squadron based in South Portland and deployed to the Middle East and Europe. He is now a member of the Vermont Air National Guard.

Two years after being hired in Fairfield, he stepped into the town manager position after longtime town manger Paul Blanchette died.

Reny said he thinks he is leaving the town in a good position.

“I have full confidence that the town will select someone who is a good fit” for its next town manager, Reny said.

Sezak said the council already has started its search and advertised the open position with the Maine Municipal Association and an online database.

The town will be accepting only physical resumes, not emailed applications, Sezak said. He expects the resumes to begin coming in by the end of the week.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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