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Castine
Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 5, 2014
James Goodson accepts town manager position

Castine hires new town manager

James Goodson was offered and accepted the position of town manager in Castine, Maine. He will assume his duties on July 7, 2014.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Initially, James Goodson had no thought of filling an upcoming vacancy as town manager. Then, after being approached by people in the community, he “threw his hat into the ring,” he said in a brief interview held directly after selectmen approved his appointment.

“There’s nothing about the job description that gives me any pause,” he said.

Why leave his current job, as executive director for Hancock County Habitat for Humanity, to become town manager?

“Love of Castine,” he said. “Truly.”

Goodson said managing the ongoing infrastructure project does not pose a huge challenge. “It’s managing big construction,” he said, something with which he has experience. “The biggest thing is managing the impact on the town.”

Goodson spent 15 years with a real estate investment trust that developed student housing before taking over as executive director of HCHH five and one half years ago. He moved to Castine 13 years ago from “just outside of” Birmingham, Alabama.

The biggest challenge of becoming town manager will be “just coming to understand every piece of town activity,” he said. “I know water, sewer, historic preservation,” but he is not as familiar with, for example, the utility board.

Interviewing for the position helped him “see the dynamics of the selectmen,” he said. “It was important to sort of get to know my future bosses.”

The contract begins with a six-month probationary period and runs for three years. The salary is $65,000. Goodson plans to spend time at Emerson Hall before he officially begins his tenure on July 1 and his duties on July 7.

Goodson, who is the current chairman of the historical preservation commission, will step down from that role this month. He plans, however, to “rejoin” the Hancock County Habitat for Humanity board of trustees.

He will also attend town manager training through the Maine Municipal Association before starting his position, he said. That was the advice of current town manager Dale Abernethy, whom he calls a “good friend.”

Abernethy, who is retiring after 10 years as town manager on July 1, will be available for questions, Goodson said. “That will be awfully important.”