RUMFORD – Selectmen from Rumford and Mexico want to get the word out that changing a section of the Rumford charter to allow one person to manage both towns could make a huge difference in the success of the communities.

The boards sat down again Wednesday night to continue discussion on how to hire John Madigan, Mexico’s town manager and Rumford’s former town manager, beginning on July 1.

“This is pretty historic,” said Rumford board Chairman Greg Buccina. “Towns are struggling for survival.”

Rumford Selectman Frank DiConzo, who has been an advocate for sharing services, agreed that hiring one person to do the job would be a good thing.

“This could be an example for the state. We will be a great example for other towns,” he said.

Mexico does not have a charter that would prevent a town manager from serving two towns. Rumford does.

One of the articles that Rumford voters will decide on June 10 is whether to change the wording of a section of the charter to say that a town manager will be available for service as determined by selectmen. Now, the charter states that the town manager must be available full-time.

Buccina and Mexico Chairwoman Barbara Laramee said they will bring up the positive aspects of the potential change at each of their meetings between now and June 10.

The plan, with one shared town manager in place, includes working toward merging some of the towns’ services, such as public works, fire and police departments.

If approved by Rumford voters, the sharing of Madigan would be authorized for a year. After that, the decision to continue sharing will be considered depending upon success.

Laramee and Selectman Peter Merrill are being challenged by Randy Canwell and Liz Jorgensen for their seats in the June elections. Laramee said all four candidates favor the joint venture.

In Rumford, incumbents Buccina and Selectman Mark Belanger are being challenged by Rob Cameron, Jason Thompson, Judy O’Neil and Jeremy Vashaw. Buccina said he does not know the opinion of the challengers on town manager sharing and merging services.

The boards will sit down again at 6 p.m. Monday, May 19, to work out a salary and benefits plan as well as a tentative plan on how a shared town manager would work.

Madigan earns about $57,000 annually. Rumford Town Manager Jim Doar, who has resigned as of June 10, earns about $63,000 a year.

Doar agreed to stay on to help with a transition, but has advised Buccina to have a plan B in place if residents do not approve the charter change.

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