Monmouth has hired its next town manager. 

Linda Cohen, of South Portland, will begin leading the town on Dec. 9. This will be her first time managing a municipality.

“I am passionate about local government, and I take being a public servant very seriously,” she said. “I believe the citizens deserve to have honest and transparent people working for them.”

Linda Cohen Submitted photo

Cohen brings around 30 years of municipal experience, including serving as a councilor for South Portland, where she resides, for two three-year terms. During each term she served as mayor, who in South Portland is elected by city councilors to lead the council, in 2015 and 2018

“We are hoping that she has had the experience to do well with all the financial aspects of being a town manager,” said C. Douglas Ludewig, chairperson of the Monmouth Board of Selectmen, “and the people skills, getting along with the staff, and working well with them and running the departments.”

Having a town manager with good financial and people skills was important to the board, Ludewig said.  

Cohen was the president of the Maine Municipal Association, she said, serving on its executive board and legislative policy committee. She has also been a consultant for the towns of Auburn and Yarmouth. 

Early in Cohen’s career, she worked in code enforcement and in the assessors office in South Portland before becoming the city clerk for 12.5 years. She followed that experience by being the Portland clerk for nearly a decade.

“I am hoping the people in Monmouth are open to someone new coming in” Cohen said. “I hope that they can feel like they can drop by and introduce themselves.” 

Her  immediate goals will be to get to know the town, and do a lot of listening and learning. 

“When you have a manager who has been there for a long time, as Curtis (Lunt) was, sometimes people are looking for changes; some are happy with what they have got,” she said. “I need to find out that situation in Monmouth.”

After 44 years in the business of town managing, Lunt will retire after working the last 12 years for Monmouth. 

“We hope she can continue to help the town realize our economic goals and keep the budget under control to keep the tax rate low,” said Tim McDonald, Board of Selectmen vice chairperson. 

Cohen, 64, is a Portland native. 

“Most of my friends think I should be retiring,” she said. “I feel like I still have a lot to give. I am not going to be done any time soon.”

Cohen will not be the town’s first female manager. Jane Fiori led the town in the 1990s, according to Ludewig.

Cohen has a three-year contract with the town. Her annual salary will be $75,000, which could increase to $77,500 after a six-month probationary period, Ludewig said. She will receive benefits, including an annual $3,000 stipend for travel costs, he said.

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