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Topsham picks longtime planner Roedner as new town manager

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Topsham picks longtime planner Roedner as new town manager

TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen didn't go far to find the next town manager, voting unanimously after an executive session Monday to hire Planning Director Rich Roedner.

Roedner, who has been planner since October 2002, has been Topsham's interim manager since the departure earlier this month of former Town Manager Cornell Knight.

"You never like to stop learning," Roedner said Tuesday, noting that being manager will provide new challenges and new experiences, "so it's a way to broaden myself. ... I like this town. And I felt that this was an avenue that I could continue to serve the town in, doing something new and serving the town in a new way."

Roedner, 51, is married and has two children. He lives in Saco.

Being hired as manager is "a big honor," he said. "It's nice to have that endorsement, that recognition of what I've done in the past here in Topsham, and the skills that I've demonstrated to everybody."

Don Russell, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Tuesday there were three strong candidates for the job, but Roedner was the favorite.

Roedner has done an "excellent job" as planner, Russell said, noting "he's been involved with every project that's taken place in the last 12 years, so we felt that it would be kind of a seamless move to move him right into the manager's job, and continue with the work that he's been doing."

Roedner's starting salary is $85,000, Russell said.

It is uncertain how Roedner will be replaced as planner, the selectman said. Rod Melanson serves as Topsham's natural resource manager/assistant planner.

Knight, who became manager in February 2011 and was named Maine's manager of the year in 2012, announced his resignation last December. He stepped down in order to move to Washington, D.C., where his wife works in the office of U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Knight said at the time that his decision did not reflect any dissatisfaction with his job, and that he was "very pleased" with the work, and with his relationship with the Board of Selectmen and town staff.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.