AUGUSTA — The City Council and City Manager William Bridgeo have agreed to renew his contract for another three years, keeping him in the city’s top job into 2020.

Bridgeo, who is 67 and thus would be 70-years-old at the end of the new contract, said he still loves and gets great satisfaction from the job he’s held for 19 years, and doesn’t rule out considering extending his time working for the city even beyond 2020.

“I really have to say, serving as city manager of Augusta for the last 19 years has been the highest honor of my career, of my life,” Bridgeo told councilors recently after their vote to sign a three-year contract extension with him. “Who knows how long (he’ll stay in the job), at this point I’m no kid. But right now it still feels good and I derive tremendous satisfaction from it. Someday I do look forward to being retired, on Fairview Avenue, and walking around this city and looking at different things and thinking, well, I had a hand in that. That makes me feel good. And so it’s a privilege to be a part of it and I assure you that I will give it everything I have for every day that I draw a paycheck.”

Bridgeo’s current salary is $119,875 a year and the renewed contract states he’ll be awarded the same percentage raises, each year of the contract, the city council awards to non-union department heads, which he said is typically around a 2 percent raise.

That pay is similar to the salary paid to managers in other Maine cities. According to a list of what city managers make in other municipalities, provided by Bridgeo, the manager in Auburn makes $130,000 a year, Bangor $131,000, Lewiston $127,455, Waterville $117,500 and Windham $121,000.

Councilors voted to renew his contract unanimously Thursday.

“I think the city manager is very deserving of this extension,” said At-Large Councilor Mark O’Brien. “He has been a terrific city manager for the city of Augusta and I think he still holds enthusiasm for the job. So I think we’re fortunate to have him and his abilities serving us.”

Ward 4 City Councilor Anna Blodgett, who before being elected to the council previously worked as a city employee during Bridgeo’s tenure, said he is dedicated to the city and has always done everything with the best interest of the city in mind.

Ward 1 Councilor Linda Conti said being a city manager is a tough job that requires the ability to work with different constituencies and Bridgeo has handled that “remarkably well.”

And Mayor David Rollins said in his 12 years on the council Bridgeo has taught him a lot, and the city has had a reputation for being very well-managed, by Bridgeo as well as Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager.

Bridgeo said major reasons he has stuck around as long as he has include the cooperative relationship that exists among city staff and elected officials, and the quality of the city’s staff.

“You can look around at other communities in Maine, and across the country, and so frequently you see polarization, anger, constant fighting, and we don’t have that here,” he told councilors and Rollins. “And I cherish that. And the public needs to know that doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work by dedicated elected officials, working in conjunction with a whole bunch of dedicated professionals. It’s a team thing. You provide the leadership. We provide the elbow grease. And the end result is a better community.”

Bridgeo started on the job in April of 1998.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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