TREMONT — Selectmen reluctantly accepted the resignation of Town Manager Chris Saunders during their meeting Tuesday night, effective June 18.
He is leaving after three years in the role of town manager to move to southern Maine with his wife, Dr. Grace Price, who has been offered a fellowship at Maine Medical Center in Portland. They have a toddler son and Saunders explained to the board the move makes the most sense for their family.
“I have a lot of regrets about leaving Tremont; it’s a really terrific town,” Saunders told the board after announcing the departure during the meeting. “I’ve had a terrific experience here working with all of you and with the residents and the volunteers of the boards and the committees and the staff here at the office. It’s just a really great community. Personally, this is the right move for our family, but it is a bittersweet moment for me.”
Saunders took over as town manager in January 2018 after Dana Reed announced he was retiring. Although Saunders came with experience in municipal government, it was his first position as manager.
“I want to thank you for all the hard work and everything that you’ve done,” said Jamie Thurlow, who is chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “I think you’ve done a great job. I know you came into this a little green. You’ve adapted very well, and everything has gone very good.”
From there, the others on the board extended their thanks and appreciation for the work Saunders has done.
“Thanks a lot Chris, we will miss you,” said selectman Kevin Buck.
Thurlow was the sole objecting vote to accepting Saunders’ resignation, somewhat in jest, but it passed by a vote of 4-1.
When he began, Saunders signed a two-year contract to serve the town. Last year, he signed on for another two years, but will cut that commitment short.
“It has been an honor to serve you for the past three years, and so I am disappointed to have to leave Tremont so soon,” Saunders wrote in his letter of resignation. “In our time together, we have greatly expanded the Bass Harbor Memorial Library, partially reconstructed the Town Wharf, significantly grown the unassigned fund balance and weathered the trials of COVID-19. Your support for these efforts has made my job both enjoyable and productive.”
Saunders went on to thank office staff and those working in the municipal departments, saying, “We’ve never had a ‘boring’ day at the Town Office.”