John Bellino, who took over as town manager for Clinton in September, stands outside the town’s Municipal Office on Wednesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

CLINTON — New Town Manager John Bellino hasn’t wasted any time this fall, getting acclimated to the area and identifying priorities to tackle in the new year.

Bellino started in September and had several weeks overlapping with outgoing Town Manager Earla Haggerty to get up to speed on town operations. In the months since, he has identified several priorities that he hopes to tackle in the upcoming year, including forming an economic development committee, working on road repairs and making progress on the project to build a new fire station.

Town officials have been working on several options to build new police and fire stations in recent years, as both departments have outgrown their spaces. Bellino said the town is currently waiting to hear back from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office about some potential funding for the project.

Bellino also hopes to create an economic growth and development committee for the town, to help identify projects to revitalize the area and obtain grants to fund those projects. He said he hopes to make progress on needed road repairs, but, with utility costs still on the rise, he realizes that next year will likely be a difficult budget season.

Before coming to Clinton, Bellino worked as fire chief in Richmond, where he also taught paramedic training courses in Brunswick. Serving as fire chief gave him a taste of working in local government, and helped him realize his passion for town operations.

A Maine native, Bellino grew up in southern Maine, where he worked as a firefighter and paramedic. He had always felt drawn to the work growing up, Bellino said. He remained involved in the industry, even as he shifted his career focus to education, and he moved to Boston to teach in the paramedic program at Massbay Community College.


“I got a little taste of it and just really liked it, so I went down the education path,” Bellino said. “I actually moved down to Boston for five years and taught at a community college down there before coming back to Maine.”

John Bellino, who started as town manager in September, sits in his office Wednesday at the town of Clinton Municipal Office. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Living in Boston, he realized how he missed life in rural Maine. He moved back to the state in 2013, settling in South Gardiner and continuing to teach, continuing to work part-time in fire service and then becoming fire chief.

Outside of work, Bellino said he enjoys exploring rural towns across Maine — a hobby that brought him to Clinton before he started working there. He described Clinton as a “classic” small town, and said he admired the farming industry in the area.

Although on paper it may seem like a strange jump to go from a career as a firefighter and paramedic to town manager, Bellino said, it made much more sense in real life. Bellino said most of it was behind the scenes work in an office that people don’t think about, but that work primed him to take on the role of town manager.

“I worked my way up in the department to chief and after about a year of being chief, I realized that I was interested more in municipal operations,” Bellino said.

Since starting, Bellino has had a chance to meet the department heads and many residents, and said that he admires how involved people are in local government.

“Some of the people are just really involved in the community and that is just great to see,” Bellino said. “You don’t see that much anymore.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.