STANDISH — The hunt for a new Standish town manager is over.
The Town Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to select Kris Tucker as the replacement for retiring manager Gordy Billington. The selection ends a months-long process to replace Billington, who has led the town for 16 years and agreed to stay on until his replacement was found.
Tucker, 43, previously worked as the director of Economic and Community Development in Northampton, Virginia – a position he says was eliminated by the local board during budget cuts. He has since worked with a college in an interim role helping with workforce development.
Council Chairwoman Kimberly Pomerleau said after the Oct. 17 vote that Tucker will start in early December and indicated that he did his homework on Standish during the application process.
“He studied Standish. He had all the answers,” Pomerleau said. “He took the time to learn everything about the town.”
Pomerleau also said that Tucker’s willingness to establish roots in the area added to his appeal as a candidate. Tucker is originally from New Hampshire and his mother lives in Maine.
“That made a difference. I think he will be long-term,” Pomerleau said.
Tucker was one of two finalists for the job, along with John Konior, who is assistant to the city manager in Urbandale, Iowa. Both finalists came to Standish in early October for an informal forum with residents and a series of interviews with town department heads and councilors.
Billington said Tuesday that he will stay on through early January to help Tucker adjust to the new role, serving as assistant town manager to Tucker in December.
“I want to be here to assist the new manager in any way that I can,” Billington said.
The five councilors voting for Tucker were Pomerleau, Isabel Higgins, Brian Libby, Peter Starostecki and Steven Nesbitt. Each highlighted Tucker’s economic development experience as a benefit for Standish.
“I’m very excited to have Mr. Tucker on board,” Nesbitt said, noting that the search process was a “great experience” and also “very stressful.”
Nesbitt said Tucker “checked off all the boxes that Standish was looking for” with his experience with economic development.
“He researched resources in the are, he read the comprehensive plan,” said Higgins. “And he understands that change is a hard thing for a lot of people.”
“This is going to be a good thing for the town of Standish,” Higgins said.
“He’s just got a lot things that we’re looking for,” Libby said.
Starostecki said that Tucker brought a fresh perspective during the interview process.
“Right off the bat, he was coming up with ideas,” Starostecki said.
The two councilors that did not vote for Tucker were Vice Chairman Greg Sirpis and Michael Delcourt.
Sirpis said that he called Tucker over the weekend to give him a heads up about his intention to vote no.
“I thought the other candidate was the better of the two,” Sirpis said. “I don’t dislike the man, I just wanted him to hear it from me.”
Sirpis said that despite his vote, he told Tucker “that doesn’t mean I’m not going to support you going forward.”
“I’ve said all along that the next town manager is going to play a pivotal role in the future of Standish,” Sirpis continued, saying that everyone is in agreement about wanting to help Standish prosper.
“This might be the guy that’s going to get it done,” Sirpis said.
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
The Standish Town Council voted 5-2 to select Kris Tucker as the new Town Manager. He starts in early December.