ROCKLAND, Maine — James Smith was welcomed officially Monday night as Rockland’s new city manager.

Councilors praised Smith as being the right person to lead Rockland. After a unanimous vote to approve a contract with him, the formal signing ceremony of the employment agreement was held.

“James definitely had all the characteristics that the public said they wanted,” Councilor Eric Hebert said. “He’s detail-oriented and can look at the big picture.”
Hebert said he also liked Smith’s sense of fairness and balance.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said she knew that Smith was her pick when he talked about infrastructure including geothermal, sewers and roads.

“We’re in for a really good ride,” Dickerson said.

Councilor Larry Pritchett said he was impressed with Smith’s hands-on experience with the departments in Brewer. In the second interview, he said that Smith’s personal commitment and person drive were qualities he felt would lead Rockland into the next decade.

Councilor William Clayton also noted that Smith had the qualities sought by residents during a public forum at the beginning of the search process to succeed Rosemary Kulow, who resigned in early October.

Councilors and residents also spoke at the March 5 meeting to praise acting city manager Tom Luttrell for his work during the past five months.

Smith said before the meeting he was excited to come to Rockland.

“This is a great community with great people,” Smith said.

He said he and his wife and children have come down and visited Rockland several times. He plans to move his family to Rockland after the school year is completed.

Smith begins work April 2.

He said the proposed 2012-2013 budget will be the product of the current administration but that he will review it before it is submitted to the City Council. He said he was very comfortable with the work done by Luttrell and department managers.

Smith is the assistant city manager in Brewer. He is a resident of Greenbush.