RUMFORD – Come town meeting elections in June, residents will have to hire a new tax collector.

Carlo Puiia, 49, who has done the job for 13 years, was hired Friday as Rumford’s new town manager.

However, according to town law, Puiia will continue to collect taxes until after municipal elections on June 9.

That’s when selectmen will officially appoint Puiia as town manager and give him a one-year probationary contract, board Chairman J. Arthur Boivin SAID.

“Becoming Rumford’s town manager is a responsibility I gladly accept,” Puiia said in a written statement Friday afternoon immediately after selectmen voted 5-0 to hire him at a very brief special board meeting.

“It will be my goal every day to fulfill this obligation, utilizing all the dedicated employees, elected and appointed officials, and the numerous volunteers that contribute by serving us,” Puiia said.

While acknowledging that he has no previous training as a town manager, Puiia did credit his previous work history as preparation to take on the leadership role.

“I have very good basic municipal experience,” he said. “My parents also deserve credit, having provided me with a strong work ethic driven by a basic philosophy that service is primary.”

According to Puiia’s resume, he worked from 1996 to present as tax collector and accomplished the following:

• Modernized technology and operational procedures.

• Created efficiencies and reduced labor costs while increasing services.

• Developed and worked within department budgets.

• Implemented checks and balances between departments.

• Trained and supervised office employees.

• Created a process for regular reports to selectmen and auditor.

From 1994 to 2004, he was the property manager for Concorde Apartments in Rumford.

There, he managed and directed 27 federally-assisted elderly housing units; maintained strict bidding procedures and awarded contracts; supervised janitorial/maintenance worker and independent contractors; and was responsible for all financial statements, audits, legal reporting and oversight of all building maintenance and grounds work.

From 1982 to 1996, Puiia was both treasurer and office manager for the family business: Puiia Hardware and Lumber Co. of Rumford.

Skills cited included cash management and personnel review responsibilities; accounts payable, payroll and credit management experience; supervision of office staff and administration of all employee benefits; credit collection and cash management oversight; and responsibility for all audits, quarterly and annual employee reporting, and workers’ compensation claims.

He graduated from Rumford High School in 1978. From then to 1982, he attended Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Selectmen chose Puiia from a field of two dozen candidates, based on his resumé and interview prowess, Selectman Frank DiConzo said.

The board reviewed all 24 resumes individually, applying a list of their own criteria to narrow the field to five people, DiConzo said.

The criteria – labeled desired management skills and needs – included personnel management, municipal experience, leadership skills, economic and community development, strategic planning, public and labor relations, contract negotiations, communications/marketing, grant research and writing, policy development, and legislative networking.

Additional items were technological/industrial recruiting, risk management, financial skills in both budgets and capital planning, a graduate or bachelor’s degree, computer literacy, relocation ease, local residency, and land use control and zoning.

“It came down to who had the most check marks, and then, what their top priorities would be, which got it down to the five,” DiConzo said.

Then, on Patriots Day on Monday, selectmen interviewed four of the five, because one applicant withdrew from the process after getting hired elsewhere, Boivin said.

Puiia said he knew as early as Tuesday he’d won the job even though selectmen had to wait until Friday’s vote to make it public.

“I knew it would be confidential until they had their official meeting,” he said.

That decision ended a months-long process to find a successor to interim Town Manager Len Greaney, who didn’t attend Friday’s meeting.

Selectmen hired Greaney last summer after Town Manager Jim Doar resigned to take a job with Rumford paper mill NewPage Corp.

DiConzo and Boivin declined to reveal why they voted to hire Puiia as town manager. Calls seeking the same from Selectmen Mark Belanger and Robert Cameron were not immediately returned.

Selectman Brad Adley, however, said Friday evening at home that it was simply the will of the board.

“We wanted to make a statement and have a unanimous board behind him, with all of us working together,” Adley said. “We don’t want to have any hatchets to bury. We want to start off on the right foot.”


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