OXFORD — After a public service career spanning 45 years over three Maine communities, Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin has announced his retirement. He will step down effective January 1, 2021.

Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin (center) will retire in 2020. Also pictured Selectman Caldwell Jackson (left) and Oxford Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen. Leslie H. Dixon/Advertiser Democrat

“It seemed like a good time,” said Asselin. “I’ll be 66 in August. I plan to evaluate what’s next and enjoy life going forward.”

Back in 2017 when he interviewed for the job as town manager, Asselin said he made it clear that Oxford would be his last stop, likely one that would not exceed five years. He was offered the position the very next day.

The post was a good fit for Asselin’s family goals – his three daughters had grown and moved to the southern area of the state and relocating to Oxford made it possible for him and his wife Lauren to be closer to their family, now grown to include four grandchildren. It also brought him closer to his Oxford county hometowns of Dixfield and Rumford.

Asselin’s career began in 1975, first in Old Orchard Beach and then Skowhegen where he took a full-time job with the town’s police force. He moved up the ranks to become chief of the department in 1997. He also filled in as the interim town manager during his time as Skowhegen Police Chief.

After working in Skowhegen for 10 years, Asselin moved on in 2007 to lead the police department in Houlton. In April of 2014 he was asked to fill in for Houlton’s departing town manager and within three months he assumed that post permanently.


“At first I wasn’t interested in being a full-time town manager,” Asselin said. “Lauren works in town government and she knew I would have a lot more stress being responsible for more departments. But after discussing it with her and friends and colleagues, we decided it would be a good change. And it was. It gave me experience I was able to carry over to Oxford.”

During Asselin’s career in law enforcement he was active with Maine Chiefs of Police Association where he was certified in 2009 by the International Chiefs of Police Association as a mentor of new chiefs, serving as an adviser within the state and nationally. He also received the MCOPA President’s Award in 2006 and 2012 and was named Maine Police Chief of the Year in 2013. He credits the MCOPA with helping him develop skills for broader municipal management.

“Working with the association helped me advance my career,” said Asselin. “It gave me experience with public speaking and making presentations.

“It also helped me develop skills in contract negotiations, managing personnel and financial matters, and the importance of building personal relationships with staff and colleagues.”

During his affiliation with the MCOPA Asselin traveled to Washington D.C., working to secure funds for Maine’s Head Start program and testifying before Congress about juvenile crimes.

One priority for Asselin in each role and every town he has worked has been to develop strong relationships with local businesses. He worked on Community Block Development grants for Valley View Pies, Inc.’s expansion in Oxford as well as for other companies. His grant writing abilities were one of the things that stood out to Oxford selectmen when he interviewed for the town manager’s job.


Asselin is proud of the work he has done to improve local landscapes for business. He said it has been his policy to seek business owners and leaders out and listen to them, and to bring municipal officials into discussions with them to find resolutions that work for all involved.

As one of only two communities in Maine to be home to a gambling casino, Asselin said Oxford Hotel Casino has been a great partner to the town.

“This is a frugal town and revenues we get from the casino have made a difference to improve its services, from school and county budgets to helping pay municipal debt,” Asselin said. “I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with their general manager, Jack Sours. He runs a good operation there.”

Asselin and Oxford worked with Oxford Casino to improve the intersection there on Route 26 after pedestrian fatalities. “We modified it and made it much safer.”

But Asselin says working in Oxford included challenges he had not dealt with before, specifically those involving long-neglected dams threatening water levels of three ponds and lakes.

“I had a lot of history to learn about that,” he said. “The dams have long-standing issues that had not been dealt with for years. But we have made progress to resolve them.”


In his last year Asselin says he will focus on major projects, including the future for the Town Office and improvements to Oxford’s historic meeting house, which has mold issues and is in need of rehabilitation. Both promise to be challenging as revenues have fallen off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am not looking forward to Butch’s retirement,” admitted Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen. “I have enjoyed having him as a mentor, expanding my knowledge in municipal budget and management. He has brought the staff together during several hard and trying times during his tenure.

“Butch has been a great asset to the town and will be missed by the staff. He is extremely professional and has worked diligently on expanding business within the town. He has a wonderful sense of humor and loves a good practical joke.”

The town’s two public safety chiefs were promoted into their current roles with recommendations by Asselin, Police Chief Michael Ward in 2018 and Fire Chief Paul Hewey in 2019.

Butch was a very thorough and hardworking boss,” said Chief Ward. “Our Department congratulates him on a well-deserved retirement and we wish him well in whatever new endeavors are on his horizon.”

“The Town Manager, Butch Asselin, was the person that took a chance and hired me to be the fire chief after the passing of Chief Gary Sacco,” added Fire Hewey. “I remember him telling me, ‘it’s your department now.’ I have learned a lot from Mr. Asselin about becoming a department head.


“Almost a year later, our chats still start out about department business and turn into family and where vacation is next. As long time members in the public safety field, we would chat about the administration duties and/or in-the-field work. You will always learn something if you listen. I congratulate Mr. Asselin and his wife on their next adventure(s).”

Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin is retiring at the end of 2020. Supplied image

Asselin said his immediate post-service plans are to take some time off. He enjoys cooking and looks forward to having dinner ready for Lauren when she gets home after work. He will likely volunteer in some capacity as well.

“I’d like to use the knowledge and skills I’ve developed over 45 years in a new area. I don’t yet know what that will be. Maybe a part-time business. I’ve always maintained a neutral public profile but I may consider a political career. We will see.”

Asselin’s first challenge will start with new routines and learning how to make coffee.

“As town manager, every morning I go to Dunkin Donuts for my morning coffee,” he said. “But when I get up on January 2 next year, I will have to make my own.”

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