SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen hope to hire a new town manager in the next two months after beginning a hiring search Thursday for the position that was vacated months ago.

The job has been open since Christine Almand, who was town manager for nearly a decade, officially resigned the post on Nov. 4 after going on a monthslong medical-related leave earlier in the year.

With Police Chief David Bucknam serving as interim town manager, officials said they were eyeing a decision about how to move forward at the beginning of 2024. But selectmen did not want to rush the hiring process, Chairman Todd Smith said.

“We needed to find out where we were financially,” Smith said. “We had Chief (Bucknam) in place, so we didn’t really feel like there was huge urgency to have to get this done. We could really slow the process down to make sure that we did it correctly.”

The application period closes on March 1, which means the position could be filled in the next six to eight weeks, assuming qualified candidates apply, Smith said.

“Privately, I’ve received phone calls from people saying that they were interested,” Smith said. “I know from that that there’s interest.”


Candidates ideally will have a bachelor’s degree and two to 10 years in municipal management, according to the job posting. A stipulation in Almand’s contract that she live in Skowhegan was removed from the new job description to widen the field of applicants, according to Smith.

The salary is negotiable. Almand’s yearly salary in 2023 was set at $87,549.80, per her most recent contract signed in 2021.

In Skowhegan, the job comes with more than just managing an annual town budget of more than $17 million and 77 full-time employees. The new town manager will also play a key role in several ongoing infrastructure projects involving the town, including a whitewater River Park, a ballfield expansion project, and a second bridge over the Kennebec River.

The town manager will also need to navigate the financial impact of several economic developments, which include the expansion of the New Balance factory, the mixed-use rehabilitation of a former mill downtown, and the push by some organizations and businesses to draw more outdoor recreation tourism to Skowhegan.

While selectmen and residents at Town Meeting ultimately make the call on most of the town’s decisions, the town manager still holds considerable influence by providing the selectmen with guidance, helping to prepare the annual budget and overseeing day-to-day operations.

“Personally, I’m just looking for a manager that can get us through all the growth that we have in the next 10, 15 years, with all the infrastructure coming to Skowhegan,” said Selectman Charles Robbins, the vice chairman of the board. “There’s a lot of projects going on.”


Selectman Harold Bigelow deferred to Smith regarding what the board seeks in a new manager. Bigelow said he was cautious about commenting on the matter because he believes a public conflict with Almand in 2022, stemming from complaints of ethics violations made against him by town employees that eventually led to him being censured, was misconstrued by the news media.

“I have all the faith in the world that when we get a town manager, it’s going to be what we’re looking for, especially with Todd (Smith) at the helm guiding,” Bigelow said. “I have a lot of faith in the board. We will definitely choose someone worthwhile.”

As for Bucknam, the interim town manager, he said Thursday that he does not intend to apply for the permanent position and will return full-time to his passion of leading the Police Department.

“The experience was educating,” Bucknam said.

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.

filed under: