PHILLIPS — Town Manager

said this week she’s ready for retirement and the adventures that lie ahead.

She announced Tuesday that she will step down on March 4 after 10 years serving the town.

Hubbard began as a temporary worker for the town years ago when longtime Town Manager Laura Toothaker retired. Karen Olivieri succeeded Toothaker and Hubbard became Olivieri’s assistant.

After Olivieri accepted a position in Rangeley, Hubbard worked with Town Managers Lynn White and Jim Collins. When Collins resigned unexpectedly, Hubbard stepped in as interim manager and was eventually named permanent manager.

“When I started, we were not computerized,” she said. “We wrote all the registrations and other documents by hand or used an old typewriter that had keys missing.”

She described the experience as “trial by fire.” The benefits of learning how to do each job as a novice, including those of treasurer and tax collector, can’t be underestimated, she said.

“An entry-level job might seem menial, but everything I learned when I was a temp taught me how to do this job,” she said.

Today’s managers are required to do a lot more paperwork than ever before, and the training never ends, she said. 

Hubbard said her favorite day on the job was when the town celebrated its bicentennial with a potluck supper at the Phillips Area Community Center. Everyone in town seemed to be there, she said, and people were laughing, socializing and having a great time. She helped serve the food and was amazed at those willing to wait in line outside because the old gymnasium was packed.

“Just think what it would be like if we could have that spirit of community and volunteerism all the time,” she said.

The hardest part of her job, she said, has been foreclosing on someone’s home because of unpaid taxes. Hubbard said she realized many residents were having a difficult time economically, but she and selectmen always have been willing to work with them to seek a solution.

Some repeat delinquent taxpayers pay at the last minute to forestall foreclosure, she said.

“That means that the people who pay taxes on time are subsidizing the town’s budget to make up for the people who don’t pay,” she said.

Among other challenges she’s faced was the recent threat of resignation by local firefighters. Although the town got statewide media attention, she said, only one Phillips resident called her to ask about the issue.

Everyone has opinions, she said, and today’s social media allows the public to criticize without having to take responsibility or make the situation better.

Her advice to her successor is to continue to move forward and set goals, despite such challenges. Develop contingency plans and remain positive, she suggested.

“Don’t look backward or side to side,” she said. “Keep looking forward — and don’t let anything disrupt where you’re headed.”

She said she plans to remain a resident of the town, leaving only to travel and visit friends and family, including a son and two daughters who live in other states.

“I have a grandson who is getting his master’s degree at the University of Durham in England, so I might go visit him,” she said.

Her goal is to enjoy her retirement to the fullest and do some of the exciting things she hasn’t had time for before now, she said.

“Right now, I’m focusing on things I want to get done here before March 4,” she said. “After that, I might sleep until 9 a.m. for a couple of days.”


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