‘Happily apprehensive,’ Auburn city manager steps down

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AUBURN — City Manager Clinton Deschene will step down Nov. 15 to take the position of business manager at School Administrative District 1 in Presque Isle.

“I’m a little happily apprehensive,” Deschene said Thursday. “With life changes, apprehension comes in quickly. But the flip side is, this is a good decision. But I am sad to leave the city. In two, two-and-a-half years, the city has really dug into me.”

Deschene said it’s a personal decision made in his family’s best interest. Presque Isle is his hometown, and Deschene and his wife will move to a new home there. His parents, both in their 80s, will move in with his family.

“We had a family meeting a month ago where I offered my willingness to move home and have them move in with me,” Deschene said. “My family said it makes a ton of sense, if I’m willing to do it. So that’s one of the reasons this is happening.”

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Deschene and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Reagen, 8, and a son Duke, 4.

“It just seemed like a better fit with me, with the young children,” Deschene said. “My family said to just go for it.”

Councilors hired Deschene in 2012, and he started in June of that year.

Deschene graduated from high school in 1991 in Presque Isle and from the University of Maine in Orono in 1995. He graduated with a law degree from Suffolk in Boston in 1998 and began working for the town of Bradford in 1999 and the town of Hermon in 2002. He served as Hermon’s town manager until 2012, when he was hired by Auburn.

Councilors met in a 17-minute executive session Thursday night to review Deschene’s resignation before coming back into a public meeting to accept it. Councilors declined to comment after the meeting, saying they wanted to give Deschene the opportunity to speak.

Mayor Jonathan LaBonte noted that Deschene had a busy term in the job, helping to build a dual-surface ice arena, helping to negotiate union contracts and expanding business at the industrial park.

Deschene said he had a few tasks to wrap up before he left, notably getting a downtown bus station and transportation center ready for construction.

“I want to leave that pretty much at the turnkey stage, ready to go,” Deschene said. “Some of the union issues, I want to get them ready. There are things that are still executive-session material that will probably become public before I leave.”

Assistant City Manager Howard Kroll will take over as interim city manager when Deschene leaves. Councilors have scheduled an Oct. 27 meeting to discuss the transition.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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