DIXFIELD — Carlo Puiia, Rumford’s former longtime tax collector and its town manager of more than four years, was hired as Dixfield town manager, Angela M. Varnum, deputy treasurer and payroll administrator, said Friday morning.

Varnum said selectmen held a special meeting Thursday night and entered an executive session before coming out and voting to hire Puiia.

Varnum said Puiia was given a one-year contract that runs from June 9, 2014, to June 30, 2015. His salary will be $45,000.

“We’re very pleased to have him,” Mac Gill, selectmen chairman, said Friday. “He is outstanding and came with glowing recommendations from many people in the Rumford area. He is also a proven quality in the area and he has no blind areas.”

He said the Town Manager Search Committee had 30 to 40 people apply for the job, but many of them lived out of state.

“We didn’t find who we wanted in the first round, so we put out the search (notice) again and Carlo got in on the second round near the end of it, and he was the best candidate we had,” Gill said.


“We were absolutely tickled to death to have him apply,” Gill said.

“We think we have made a wonderful choice,” he said. “Carlo is experienced, he had glowing recommendations, and he came down here and met with the office staff and they were very pleased with him.

“He’s very calm and a conscientious person who doesn’t jump to conclusions,” Gill said. “That’s what we want.”

The search for a town manager began in March after Linda Pagels-Wentworth resigned, citing personal reasons.

On March 12, Pagels-Wentworth submitted a letter of resignation, which became effective two days later. She was hired in May 2013 after a six-month search.

Former Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky retired from the position in September of 2012, prompting the search. Skibitsky was hired back as an interim town manager until the board hired Pagels-Wentworth, Gill said.


After Pagels-Wentworth resigned, Skibitsky returned as interim town manager and will serve until Puiia starts.

Gill said Puiia was hired to a standard town manager contract with a six-month probationary period.

Puiia said Friday afternoon he is excited to get the job.

“This was an opportunity right here in the River Valley and they were very welcoming to me,” Puiia said.

He said he knows many Dixfield residents who used to stop in at his parents’ hardware store where he worked when he was younger, and from when he returned to the area after college and coached area youth football, youth hockey, ice hockey and ice skating.

Additionally, he said he has an uncle and cousin who live in Dixfield, along with several friends.


“This is really a beautiful town,” Puiia said. “They’ve got a nice industry in the heart of the town that provides jobs, and they support education and school sports.”

He said he’s already reading up on town policies and working with Skibitsky.

“Gene Skibitsky is very gracious to offer his guidance to me in the transition,” Puiia said. “And they have a really strong staff there. The board (of selectmen) and staff comments are so genuine and so sincere, it was heartwarming.”

Puiia resigned Sept. 19, 2013, as town manager of Rumford, citing personal reasons. He was named to the position in 2009 after serving 13 years as the town’s tax collector.

He agreed to stay on until Rumford selectmen hired a new town manager or until the end of the business day on Dec. 20, 2013, whichever came first. When that time came, selectmen hired Mexico Town Manager John Madigan, a former Rumford town manager, to lead Rumford. Madigan continues as Mexico’s manager.


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