RUMFORD — Following a 20-minute executive session, the Rumford Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday evening to pursue their own town manager.

Rumford and Mexico have been sharing John Madigan as town manager for more than two years, but he is retiring and running for the state Legislature.

Recently, both boards voted to extend Madigan’s contract to Jan. 1, 2017, to give them time to decide on his replacement.

In the initial meeting of the two selectboards, three options were suggested:

• Have separate town managers;

• Share a manager; or

• Share a manager with an assistant or economic developer.

Rumford Board Chairman Jeff Sterling said as the executive session went on, hiring their own town manager became the obvious choice “as we thought more and more about it.”

With his experience and familiarity with both Rumford and Mexico, “John was in a unique position” to manage the two towns, Sterling said.

However, he said Rumford has a number of major projects coming up, including the downtown reconstruction, which require the full attention of a town manager, especially one that will be new to Rumford.

“We’re looking to have someone in place by Jan. 1,” Sterling said. “This person will have to hit the ground running because the budget season will only be three weeks away.”

He noted that the board has nothing against neighboring Mexico.

“With Mexico, everything we’ve done has been successful,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership. We all enjoy working with Mexico and hope to start consolidation talks again.”

Selectmen also voted to ask Madigan to contact David Barrett at the Maine Municipal Association to begin the town manager search process.

Madigan said Friday that prior to the decision by Rumford to seek their own town manager, the Mexico board, following their own executive session, voted 3-1  in favor of continuing the shared process of a town manager. Andy Dupuis was absent.

Regarding Rumford’s decision, Madigan said, “They were really concerned it would be too much of a learning curve for a new manager to try to learn two towns.”

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