December 26, 2013

Brunswick town manager to resign

Gary Brown will leave in March 2014, but he and the town council have not said why.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Brunswick Town Manager Gary L. Brown will resign his position in March 2014, the Town Council announced this week.

A written statement was released announcing the departure following a Monday meeting in executive session of the nine-member council. The resignation will be effective March 31, 2014. Scant details were offered about why Brown resigned, and councilors reached for comment either refused to discuss the matter, or were evasive about the decision-making process.

In the brief statement, council chair Suzan Wilson lauded Brown’s tenure, and said that during his service, the town experienced transformation.

“Change also results in new direction for the council, and both the council and Gary recognize this,” Wilson wrote. “As a result, we began discussions with Gary regarding the future direction of the town and have arrived at an agreement that works for both the town and Gary.”

Reached at his Topsham home, Brown declined to comment. However, in the statement released by the town, he praised his government colleagues.

“I have enjoyed my tenure here and feel that with the leadership of the Council for the past four-plus years, we have accomplished great things for the Town of Brunswick, Brown wrote. “The staff here is the best one could ask to work with, and the citizens are very engaged and active in the community. I recognize that it is in the best interest of the new Council to find someone who will work with them as they seek the direction that they want to take this community.”

His career in Brunswick government began in 2007 as assistant town manager until 2009, when he was promoted to the top administrative job.

Since then, he helped lead the town through the difficult closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station, as well as the construction of the Brunswick transportation center, home to the northern terminus of train service by Amtrak’s Downeaster line. He was also in office during the construction of a new police station and the renovation of the former Bowdoin College McLellan Building into a new municipal office and town council chamber.

For all the praise he received, it was still unclear why he decided to leave.

In a phone interview, Council W. David Watson said he agreed to accept the resignation because its what Brown wanted.

“Why he’s resigning is up to him, and that’s his decision,” Watson said. “I know he’s had some health problems as of late, and that may be a factor in his decision.”

Watson declined to elaborate on Wilson’s statement about a change of direction. Watson said Brown negotiated his exit with Wilson and Vice Chair Margo Knight.

Asked about Brown’s motivations or the circumstances that led to the resignation, Councilor John Perreault, declined to comment.

“I have to direct all comments and questions to the (council) chair,” Perreault said. “I’m not going to answer any of those questions.”

Councilors Sarah Brayman, Benet Pols, Gerald Favreau and Suzan Wilson did not return multiples calls for comment.

Councilor Benjamin Tucker declined to comment, and Councilor John Richardson Jr. was on vacation and not present for the Monday vote.

Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303, or at:

mbyrne@pressherald.com

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