WEST PARIS — On his birthday this year, John White will likely be busy performing his duties as town manager instead of eating cake.
The Board of Selectmen chose that day to hold a special town meeting, but that’s perfectly OK with the man who has chosen to dedicate his life to municipal service.
On Thursday, the Maine Town, City and County Management Association recognized White for 35 years of service to municipal government in Maine.
“Your outstanding devotion to duty and loyalty to this Association have contributed immeasurably to the improvement of local government,” stated a certificate from the MTCMA, presented to White by the Board of Selectmen at its recent meeting.
White hails from Sandwich, Mass., where he can trace his ancestors all the way back to the Pilgrims. While most of his ancestral roots remain firmly planted in the Cape Cod region, White eventually left the area to attend college at the University of Maine in Orono. He liked the state so much, he decided to stay.
“I grew up in Cape Cod. It started to become really crowded, and it just didn’t appeal to me, but Maine did. Actually, a few of my classmates also live in Maine today. They had the same feeling,” White said.
One might say public service is in White’s blood. His great-uncle served for many years on the Sandwich Board of Selectmen and his father and aunt were both on the town’s conservation committee. His mother taught in the local elementary school.
“I was always interested in town government,” White said. “I went to many town meetings as a teenager in my hometown.”
After receiving his degree in public administration for city and town government, White went to work for his first community in the state. Several towns later, he landed in West Paris.
“I worked in Surry, I was six years in Orrington, six years in South Paris, 10 years in Durham, and now eight years in West Paris,” White said. “West Paris is the best town I’ve ever worked for. There’s more community spirit in this community than I’ve found in any other town. All the town personnel are hard workers. There’s a lot of community spirit here.”
White said town government is both challenging and rewarding. He enjoys how one day is seldom like the next, working on a variety of issues and meeting and talking with the public.