Assistant city manager to leave Portland for Camden post

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PORTLAND — Assistant City Manager Pat Finnigan will leave her job next month to become the town manager in Camden.

The move comes three months after Finnigan was passed over for the top administrative job in Portland city government.

Finnigan, a Bangor native, said she is excited to work in Camden, a popular destination for visitors, including her own family.

“Certainly going to Camden was one of those fun things we’d do in summer and other times of the year,” she said Wednesday afternoon.

Finnigan came to Portland four years ago from Auburn, where she served as city manager for 13 years. She became acting city manager of Portland when longtime City Manager Joe Gray retired in February.

Finnigan was one of three finalists from a nationwide pool of candidates for the permanent position. But the City Council hired Mark Rees, the former town manager in North Andover, Mass.

“From advocating for the city at the state and federal level to her efforts to revamp the city’s economic development division, Pat’s impact on our community will be felt for years to come,” said Rees, who started work in late July. “And I speak not just for myself but for city employees, businesses and residents by offering my heartfelt thanks Pat for her service to Portland.”

While she enjoyed being Portland’s assistant manager, Finnigan said her time as acting city manager reminded her how much she enjoyed being the chief executive of a community.

“There’s no question I was disappointed when I didn’t get the (Portland) job,” she said. “When the chance came open in Camden I said, ‘Well, at least I got to try.'”

Coincidentally, Finnigan said, the Camden job opened up on the night the Portland City Council officially appointed Rees.

Mayor Nicholas Mavodones in a written statement noted Finnigan’s “professionalism and sophistication.”

“I have enjoyed working with Pat and know that Camden will soon benefit from her steady leadership,” Mavodones said.

As Portland’s assistant city manager, Finnigan primarily was the city’s liaison with the state and federal governments, a city press release said. She helped secure funding for the so-called mega-berth at Ocean Gateway and coordinated funding received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Finnigan’s last day at Portland City Hall will be Tuesday, Sept. 30. She is expected to be sworn into her Camden post on Oct. 3.

“Camden, I think, is a great community,” she said. “It’s got so many natural assets. When you think of Maine, Camden is iconic in many ways.”

Finnigan, however, said it will be difficult to leave Portland.

“Portland is a great city,” she said. “It really has a wonderful staff.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings

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