AUBURN — Clinton Deschene said he had some misgivings about building a new two-rink ice arena in 2012 when he was interviewing for the city manager’s job.

“I remember talking to my wife on the way home after I’d accepted the job,” Deschene said Friday. “I said, ‘My gut tells me this could be a risky proposition. It sounds like a very big investment.'”

Deschene ended up taking the job and relocated his family to Auburn from Hermon.

Despite his initial concerns, he became a fan of the ice rink. In fact, it’s one of his favorite accomplishments from his two years on the job.

“We had an opportunity, and if we missed it, we never would have gotten it back,” Deschene said. “I think we hit it at exactly the right time, and when that happens, sometimes you just have to go for it.”

Deschene ended his run as Auburn’s city manager at close of business Friday.

“After 4:30 p.m. today, I’ll be done,” Deschene said Friday. “I’ll be cleaning up and moving on.”

Assistant City Manager Howard Kroll will act as top administrator of the city while city councilors look for Deschene’s full-time replacement. Kroll said he expected councilors to discuss the manager’s job during an executive session at Monday’s regular meeting.

Deschene is in the process of moving his family north to Presque Isle. He begins his position as assistant superintendent and business manager at Presque Isle’s School Administrative District 1 on Dec. 2.

Deschene came to Auburn in 2012 from a 10-year stint as the manger of Hermon.

During his two years on the job, he managed to finish up a some controversial projects from previous managers, such as the ice rink.

Councilors had debated creating the rink in the months leading up to Deschene taking the job. They approved the plan just six days after Deschene started, and then it was up to him to figure out how to make it work.

The arena opened in November 2013.

“As long as you spend money smart, I think it’s OK,” Deschene said. “I think that’s what we did.”

He’s just as proud of an effort to let Auburn’s emergency paramedic begin transporting patients. It began this summer, after years of debate. Since insurance companies don’t pay for emergency response but do pay for emergency transport to local hospitals, Auburn couldn’t defray the cost of sending out paramedics.

“We were at a point where we either needed to charge for the service or stop responding — and we didn’t want to do that,” Deschene said. “That would have been a reduction in services. But what we did is sustain services without costing more money. And even if we only break even, we’ve still improved services.”

Deschene said the city is close to breaking ground on a downtown transportation center in Great Falls Plaza. That’s something he had hoped to see firsthand, but it won’t be ready by the time he leaves.

His biggest regret is not starting construction on a new Edward Little High School.

“I know it’s going to happen,” Deschene said. “I’m positive. It’s a state-funded project and we have to do something. When it all comes together, it’s going to be amazing. You’re going to have a brand-new, state-of-the-art, well-thought-out project to educate the kids of this region for years.”

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