LISBON – Stephen Eldridge, the former town manager of Rumford who has played a critical role in the Twin Cities’ efforts to share services, is taking on a new assignment as Lisbon’s top manager.

Eldridge, a Monmouth resident, replaces Curtis Lunt, the longtime manager who left earlier this year due to differences with the Town Council. Lunt was paid $75,000 and given the use of a car. Police Chief David Brooks has been managing the town in the interim.

According to Eldridge’s two-year contract, he will receive a salary of $80,000 and a $400 monthly travel allowance. The contract stipulates that once Eldridge completes a year on the job, he will be eligible for a one-year extension. He begins work in Lisbon on Jan. 7.

Eldridge was one of 41 applicants for the job, a number that was narrowed to seven who were granted interviews. Two were called back for a second interview.

His previous work as town manager in Rumford – from 2005 to February this year – was at times contentious. He left after selectmen voted to buy out the remaining 11 months of his three-year contract at a cost of $69,000. A primary source of controversy was that Eldridge did not live in Rumford, as mandated by the town charter. While he had detractors, many town officials and residents at the time spoke highly of Eldridge and his work in Rumford.

Residency will not be a factor in his employment with Lisbon, as there is no such requirement, as long as he can get to town from his home within a specified length of time, which he says he can do.

Following his time in Rumford, Eldridge was hired in March as the Lewiston-Auburn joint services coordinator, charged with finding ways the two cities can share municipal services and, as a result, cut into expenses.

Eldridge’s municipal experience is extensive: He was town manager, treasurer, town clerk, general assistance director and road commissioner for Greene from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that he served as town manager, treasurer, general assistance director, road commissioner and deputy town clerk for Etna from 1999 to 2001.

He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine in Orono in 1998, and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1977.

Eldridge, 54, is married and the father of two children. When contacted at his home Wednesday for comment, he said he was, “Just looking forward to starting his new job.”

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