LEWISTON — It’s a familiar position for Phil Nadeau: filling in while councilors search for a new city administrator.

“It’s very much the nature of this business,” Nadeau said. “As a city employee, your employer is always different. They can change every few years, depending on who gets elected. And that’s why many people don’t last for years and years in this kind of job.”

But Nadeau has lasted, serving as deputy city administrator since 2000. And he’s outlasted three city administrators, filling in for Robert Mulready in 2000 and for Bogdan Vitas in 2001.

When councilors voted Tuesday night to buy out the remainder of Jim Bennett’s $110,000 per year contract, they appointed Nadeau as acting city administrator once again.

Nadeau said he expects filling in will be easier this time. For one thing, he has nine years more experience than he did the first time.

“I had been on the job for a few months when Bob Mulready announced his retirement,” Nadeau said.”It was a lot to learn, very quickly.”

The way the city staff is organized now will make the transition easier, as well.

“Jim had the department heads organized in teams, so there’s less that needs to be done by one person,” Nadeau said.

He spent much of Wednesday meeting with department heads, talking with the media and putting aside some of his other commitments. Under Bennett, Nadeau worked as a liaison to the state Legislature and numerous local committees.

That’s going to have to change for now. In the meantime, Nadeau said he hadn’t discussed the search process for replacing Bennett, and he wouldn’t say whether he would apply for the job.

“The last time this came up, I announced pretty quickly that I wouldn’t seek the permanent administrator’s job,” Nadeau said. “This time, I’m not going to do that. I’ll wait a while to decide what I’m going to do next.”

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