PHILLIPS — In 2012, Phillips celebrated its bicentennial and included in the festivities was a potluck supper where 200 residents packed into the Phillips Area Community Center to enjoy a night of homemade food and community spirit.

Town Manager Elaine Hubbard, who is set to retire next month, said it’s moments like that she will miss most when she leaves municipal government.

“The best part for me, as town manager, was our bicentennial community dinner. Everyone was laughing, eating, smiling — that was the best part. That’s what community is all about,” Hubbard said Friday.

Hubbard has worked for the town of Phillips for 10 years, the last six as town manager. Last week, Hubbard announced that she will retire effective March 4.

Hubbard is a Phillips native, but moved with her family to Connecticut when she was 5 years old. She lived there for the majority of her adult life, but longed for the tight-knit community she experienced in Phillips when she would return to visit family. Fifteen years ago, she made the move back to Phillips, and she plans to stay when she retires

“For me, it really feels like home. Even after we moved it still felt like home,” Hubbard said. “I like the pace here.”

During her time working for Phillips in multiple positions, Hubbard interacted with a range of residents and townspeople. Starting as a temporary worker in 2006, Hubbard also was tax collector, treasurer and interim manager before being appointed permanent town manager in 2010.

Her retirement from the position is something she had been considering for a while, but with circumstances allowing it in her personal life and town business entering a slow period before the budget review season starts in March, she felt now was an opportune time to step down.

“It was time,” Hubbard said.

Last month, Phillips received statewide attention when 14 of the town’s 17 volunteer firefighters announced they were going to resign after Hubbard hired a fire chief who was not from within the Phillips Fire Department.

The situation was resolved within a week, when the new fire chief resigned and the firefighters agreed to reconsider their resignations. Former Deputy Fire Chief Mark Rousseau took on the position of fire chief earlier this month.

Hubbard said that controversy didn’t “at all” factor into her decision to retire.

After having her mind wrapped up in so many different town projects and issues for the last six years, Hubbard said she has no elaborate plans for retirement, just to relax and maybe only think about one thing at a time.

“There’s so much you need to remember and retain on a daily basis (as town manager),” Hubbard said. “Right now I plan on cleaning my house and organizing myself.”

In her last three weeks as town manager, Hubbard said she is focusing on checking in on the status of ongoing projects to make sure everything is in line for her replacement. She also hopes to have initial budget requests together for the Budget Committee to begin reviewing in March. Phillips Town Meeting is in June.

Selectmen are working to find a replacement for Hubbard.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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