BUCKFIELD — Buckfield Town Manager Glen Holmes is resigning his position, he announced to the town’s board of selectmen in a letter dated Friday, December 16.

“I have accepted the position of Director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council [WMEDC],” he wrote.

The WMEDC director position became available after Linda Walbridge resigned from that position. Walbridge’s last day was December 8.

The Buckfield Board of Selectmen held an executive session to discuss the details of Holmes’ departure; his last day with the town is currently slated for February 3.  The town will advertise to hire an interim town manager, and Holmes said that his final day might change based on that process.

Holmes was the town manager in Buckfield for seven years, and he said that he had 18 months remaining on his current contract.

Holmes said that he is looking forward to the challenges that his new job will bring.

“I think what I bring to the table is I’m a native to Oxford County,” he said. “Growing up here, I’ve seen the trials and tribulations of the economy. The number of years I’ve spent in the private and public sector gives me a view of both sides.”

In Buckfield, Holmes has been the target of a group of citizens who have expressed dissatisfaction with his performance.  During the town meeting in June, citizens attempted to remove an amount equal to Holmes’ $46,800 salary from the budget; instead, an amount that included his salary was approved by a vote of 36-22.

Holmes said that criticism had nothing to do with his departure.

“It had nothing to do with job dissatisfaction, or anyone in the town or anything like that,” he said. “It was just that there was this great opportunity and I felt I had something to offer.”

He said that the biggest issue facing Buckfield’s next town manager will be whether the town should purchase the old Oxford Networks building and move town services into that location.

Holmes had warm words for the town’s staff and volunteer citizens in his letter of resignation.

“I want to express my highest level of respect and admiration for the employees that I have worked with,” he wrote. “I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of other employees from towns all across this great state and can say without reservation: Buckfield has by far the best group of people I could ever hope to be a part of.”

He expressed his hope that the board will “continue to support and cherish the employees that we have. The volunteers in this community give so much more than the average resident knows.”

Looking ahead

Holmes said that he supports a major existing initiative within the WMEDC to map the region’s access to broadband and cellphone service as a means to bolster business.

He also said that he favors standardizing rules and regulations throughout Oxford County.

“It’s important to help our current business owners as much as to invite new businesses in,” he said. “The people who have put in the time deserve the help.”

Holmes also said that he felt Oxford County has received a bad reputation because of media reports that focus on the negatives.

“The negative press Oxford County has received is something we need to get beyond,” he said. “Let people know how vital and wonderful this county really is. We have so much to offer. When there are a few negative statistics and they get publicized it leaves the wrong impression.”

Holmes has been the town manager in Buckfield since October 2004. Before that, he spent five years as the director of media sales for MediaPower, a Portland-based firm.

In the ’90s, he worked in the asbestos removal industry, and also had a four-year stint as a sales manager for Lifetouch.

He was a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1987.

Reprinted with the permission of The Advertiser-Democrat.

Photo:Glen Holmes