HARRISON — An open invitation has gone out to the community-at-large to come say goodbye to Town Manager George “Bud” Finch as he retires from a long and successful career.

An Open House will be held at the Town Office meeting room on Thursday, May 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to wish Finch a happy retirement. Refreshments will be served.

Town Clerk Melissa St. John  said those unable to attend are invited to  send their well wishes  by leaving a note on the clipboard  in the Clerk’s Office.

Finch announced his retirement last September, after serving seven years at the helm of town government in “The Friendly Village.”

This was Finch’s second stint as a town manager, and his second career. He grew up in Eastport, but left after high school in 1967 to work at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Conn. where he stayed in a variety of different positions, earning his bachelor’s degree, and later moving back to Maine where he continued to work for the company, and raising a family in the town of Wells.

In the mid-1990s, desiring a career change,  Finch secured a job as interim city manager in Eastport and continued there for 15 years, developing a passion for managing small town government.

In 2011, Finch came to Harrison and replaced former Town Manager Brad Plante.

In his last official message to townspeople in his April 20  newsletter  that he has sent out weekly to update residents on town business and local happenings, he reflected on his time in Harrison, thanking the Board of Selectmen, town employees and especially  the residents.

“Most important for me is to not leave without thanking the people of Harrison for it is their support at Town Meetings which provided the authorization to accomplish the goals,” he said in his message.
“Harrison today is a stronger community with effective, efficient and economical plans in place for the future. I am often quoted, (with an old quote), ‘If you don’t like the hole you are in, stop digging.’
“Together we have accomplished the goals of ‘Holding the Line on Taxes, Improving not Reducing Services and to build a strong Employee base.’ In addition we have made significant gains in meeting our capital facility and equipment needs as well as implementation of a comprehensive capital roads program which has greatly improved our road infrastructure.
“Any one of these goals alone would be difficult but I leave with the confidence we have not only stopped digging the hole and have begun filling it in. Continue on this pathway and those goals can remain intact for years to come.”
Several months after Finch was hired as town manager in 2011, he told a reporter,  “I don’t have any preconceived notions about what I can do. I just hope to leave the town better off than when I found it. That’s how we were raised as kids.”
It appears he reached that goal.
“Harrison is in a far better place than when he arrived,” said the Board of Selectmen in a statement released last month.Rangeley Town Manager Tim Pellerin has been hired to be the next town manager in Harrison.  He is expected to begin his duties in mid May.ldixon@sunmediagroup.net

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