PITTSFIELD — After 21 years as town manager, Kathryn Ruth will step down at the end of the year and take on the role of grant administrator, before retiring at the end of 2024, town officials announced Thursday.

Kathryn Ruth

In her work as Pittsfield’s top administrator, Ruth has spent considerable time writing grant requests and securing money for town projects. That experience has prompted the Town Council to create the position of grant administrator for her, Mayor Michael Cianchette said in a statement.

Cianchette described the transition as an opportunity for the town and Ruth.

“It’s a great deal for the town of Pittsfield and everyone who lives here, everyone who works here, but it’s a great deal for (Ruth), too,” Cianchette later said by telephone. “It’s a win-win-win. I’m just very excited that we were able to do this.”

The town will form a search committee to hire Pittsfield’s next town manager, Cianchette said. If one is found before the end of the year, Ruth will work as assistant town manager for the remainder of 2023. She will then move to her new role as full-time grant administrator.

“I’m very proud of all of our accomplishments,” Ruth said. “I look back to the day that I arrived, and now I just see so many different projects that we worked on, all the grants that we got, all the community projects that we had.”


Cianchette said the agreement will allow the town to have a steady transition to a new town manager and build the grant administrator position into next year’s budget.

Ruth’s salary as town manager is about $92,500. Cianchette said the council has agreed to a salary for the role of grant administrator, but he declined Thursday to disclose the figure.

Cianchette said it is a rare opportunity to have someone focused entirely on grant work, but the value to the town is significant. He estimated that over 21 years, Ruth has brought in at least $17 million in funding from grants — an average of more than $800,000 a year. With that kind of return, the grant money more than covers the cost of the salary and benefits for the grant administrator, he said.

“I look at it as an investment in the town,” Cianchette said.

The town historically has not had a formal contract with the town manager, Cianchette said. But after consulting with the town attorney, the council will likely develop one for the next to fill the role. Cianchette said the council also plans to update the job description and develop a list of qualifications for candidates.

Several councilors will be on the search committee, Cianchette said, and they hope residents will also serve on the committee.

Prior to working in Pittsfield, Ruth was town manager in Bowdoinham, Hermon and Topsham. When she first arrived in Pittsfield, Ruth said the town was in desperate need of funds, so she began looking for grants. And she has not stopped.

Ruth said she is looking forward to the transition to a new role and, eventually, to retirement, after which she plans to move to southern Maine to be closer to family.

“I’ve just been so fortunate,” Ruth said. “It has been the experience of a lifetime.”

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