AUBURN — Assistant City Manager Howard Kroll will get to try out the city manager’s job for the next nine months with an option to take it permanently.

Councilors agreed to a nine-month contract with Kroll on Monday night after an executive session. Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said the council will give Kroll a $99,000 contract and the title of city manager for the next nine months, at least until the city adopts next year’s budget.

“It’s really a chance for Howard to assume the manager’s role and perform in that position and for the council to give him some space rather than jump right into a search,” LaBonte said. “If he is interested in the position, this is an opportunity for him to prove his leadership abilities.”

He replaces Clinton Deschene, who stepped down Nov. 14. Deschene begins a new job as assistant superintendent and business manager at Presque Isle’s School Administrative District 1 on Dec. 2.

“The reality now is we want to give Howard a chance to demonstrate his abilities and to be the city manager,” LaBonte said. “If he can do it, there will be no need for a search.”

Kroll has been assistant manager since 2012. Before that, he was Brewer’s city clerk since 2007 and assistant city manager there beginning in 2002.

Kroll has more than 14 years in municipal service, working as town manager in Milbridge and St. Agatha. He has an undergraduate degree in public management and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine and is credentialed through the Maine Town, City and County Management Association.

Kroll is also a supply corps officer in the Navy Reserve and is a Navy veteran with nearly 23 years of service. He recently returned from an Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment.

He serves on the Maine Municipal Association Legislative Policy Committee, USS New Jersey Veterans Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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