October 11, 2012

Clinton town manager resignation 4th in 6 years

By Ben McCanna bmccanna@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

CLINTON -- A resignation letter from the town manager delivered earlier this week hints at strife within the town office, but doesn't provide details.

Aaron Chrostowsky, who resigned Tuesday, was the town's fourth town manager in six years.

Chrostowsky presented a resignation letter during an executive session of Tuesday's selectman's meeting.

"I have come to the conclusion that the Board of Selectmen and myself can no longer agree on a management style," he said in the letter, which is a public document.

During a telephone interview Thursday, Chrostowsky wouldn't elaborate on his reasons for leaving the job he has held since January 2010.

"I decided to move on. That's all. There's no scandal here. There's no misconduct or anything. The board didn't ask me to resign. I decided to move on," he said. "I'm happy with my accomplishments here."

The town's five selectmen didn't return phone calls Wednesday or Thursday seeking comment.

Clinton has had a relatively high rate of turnover for town managers. In the past six years, the position has been held by Chrostowsky, Jim Rhodes, Keith Trefethen and Dale Morris.

Morris was town manager for two years, ending in 2007. Now town manager in Oakfield, he said he has nothing negative to say about his time in Clinton, but added the trend deserves a close look.

"When any town experiences that type of turnover, I think the elected officials should do some kind of strategic session on where they want to take the town," he said. "If they have a turnover problem, they need to figure out what's going on."

Peter Nielsen who was town manager for four years, ending in 2004, and said the job in general can be a tough one.

Nielsen, now town manager of Oakland, said the job "isn't getting any easier in this period of diminishing resources and economic difficulty."

"I understand the pressures we all find ourselves under." He added that he's grateful for the years he spent in Clinton and the opportunities the board provided him.

Chrostowsky said he is looking for other jobs in town government and is also considering going back to school.

If a replacement isn't found by year's end, Chrostowsky has offered to serve as interim town manager.

In his resignation letter, Chrostowsky said he's proud of his accomplishments, including renovation of Brown Memorial Library, consolidation of the town assessor and code enforcement offices and upgrading roads.

Ben McCanna -- 861-9239

bmccanna@centralmaine.com

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