RUMFORD — Selectmen Thursday named their new town manager, voting unanimously to accept her contract.

Board Chairman Jeff Sterling announced that Linda-Jean Briggs, currently the town manager of Waldoboro, has given her 30-day notice and will begin her duties in Rumford on Feb. 1.

Briggs’ contract is for 18 months, with a salary of $75,000, according to Sterling.

The original plan was to have someone in place by Jan. 1. Because that was pushed back, the board also approved the temporary extension of Town Manager John Madigan until Feb. 15. Sterling said that funding is covered in the budget.

Sterling spoke with Briggs after she signed the contract and said, “She is really excited about coming to Rumford. We’re really excited to have her.”

Sterling said she is a very strong personality and very comfortable with who she is.

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“She’s going to be an excellent leader for our town,” he said.

Selectman Peter Chase said, “I think this was probably one of the most important decisions we’ll make in our term on this board. She is very, very enthusiastic. She knows what’s going to be going on in town and is ready to jump in with both feet.”

Sterling said that before being the town manager in Waldoboro, Briggs was the town manager in Dexter, with six years of full-time managerial experience. Waldoboro is very similar to Rumford in size, both in employees and population, he said.

Speaking to the board, Sterling noted, “We’ve been on the same page since day one of this process. For example, we had 29 applicants to start out. The first charge we had from Maine Municipal Association, who was our agent essentially, was to come up with our top six that we would want to interview. And we do this completely independently. We went into the first meeting and we all had the same six.”

Coming out of interviews, it was unanimous that she would be offered the job, he said, adding that Briggs has 100 percent support of the board, which is important. 

“It’s going to take all of us, like it always does, to make this work,” Sterling said. “But I think you’re going to be pleased — I know we’re pleased — and we’re really looking to get going.

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“I’m highly confident that we got it right,” he said. 

Sterling said there will be a formal meet and greet with Briggs at some point.

Selectman Chris Brennick credited David Barrett, director of personnel services and labor relations for MMA, for assisting with finding candidates for the position, as well as Sterling and Madigan, who worked with Barrett.

Madigan, who is beginning his term as Maine House District 115 representative, said the Legislature session starts Jan. 4 or 5, adding that he may be down there two days a week initially, but will more frequently once committee work starts. 

The first month there should be enough time to go back and forth, he said. 

Sterling and Selectman Mark Belanger will assume town manager duties as needed when Madigan is in Augusta.

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