BELGRADE — Dennis Keschl said he loves Belgrade and the job — but he’s resigning from being the town manager for personal reasons.

Belgrade Town Manager Dennis Keschl is resigning his post as town manager of Belgrade to focus on family and his role as a state representative. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

“Sometimes in life you have to put your family over your professional career,” he said, declining to say what the personal reasons are. “I haven’t done that in the past, but I vow to do it in the future.”

Keschl, 72, said his resignation as town manager will take effect June 1. He will have been the manager for two years on that date. He was also the town manager from 2006 to 2010.

He has two children and two grandchildren; his wife, Constance, died in 2016.

Michael Barrett, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the board is sad to see him go.

“He’s been a superb town manager,” Barrett said. “He has the town’s interest at heart.”

Keschl said he will continue his responsibilities as a state representative. He serves District 76 in the Maine House of Representatives, which covers the towns of Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon, Rome, Vienna and Wayne. He also was representative from 2010 to 2014.

A member of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, Keschl has sponsored nine bills this year, including L.D. 318, “An Act To Prepare All Students for Work and Life by Requiring That Students Receive Instruction in Vocational Preparation and Practical Life Skills,” which was referred to the Education and Cultural Affairs committee in January.

Belgrade resident Ed Lorusso had been concerned, when Keschl became a state representative, about whether he would be able to manage both tasks.

“It left a bad taste that he ran as representative while still being a town manager, because he is still full time,” he said.

Barrett said Keschl has worked more than the full time hours required of the position.

“He gives the town what we pay him, and then some,” he said.

Town Clerk Cheryl Mitchell has enjoyed working for Keschl.

“I”m going to miss him,” she said. “He’s been very good at what he does.”

Keschl, a Belgrade resident, said the departure is not a reflection of the town and complimented selectmen for their support of him.

“I have a wonderful attachment (to Belgrade),” he said. “It’s been very kind to me.”

Barrett said the town also will be seeking a new treasurer and facilities manager.

Treasurer Melanie Alexander also is leaving for personal reasons, he said. Alexander’s last day was Thursday and she was not available for comment.

Les Dimick left last week as the facilities manager, Barrett said, because his hours conflicted with his Social Security benefits.

Barrett said he is not aware of any problems in the town, adding that he considers it an unfortunate coincidence.

“It’s a pickle we’re in,” he said.

The town is seeking a new town manager, and applications will be accepted until May 17 — or until a qualified candidate is found.

The town manager’s compensation is determined by experience and what the candidate wants, Barrett said, but the town will need stay within the budget already approved.

From 2016 to 2017, Carrie Castonguay was the town manager and her salary was $48,500 annually. Before Castonguay, Gregory Gill worked for the town for five years. The town approved spending $84,879 in 2016 for the position; $63,676 of that was salary.

This year, residents approved an article spending $95,525 for town manager compensation, which included benefits; last year the town spent only $78,375 on the position because Keschl declined the health benefits.

Keschl plans to help the new town manager once he or she is hired after his June 1 departure. He said it’s a good community in which to be a town manager.

“The board is very supportive, and the town is growing,” Keschl said. “People are moving here, and it’s an exciting time.”

 


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