WARREN, Maine — Longtime Town Manager Grant Watmough will be stepping down as town manager after nearly 17 years.

Watmough turned in his letter of resignation to selectmen at their Wednesday night meeting. He will continue on through Nov. 26

“I am resigning to start my retirement,” Watmough said in his letter.

“I wish you nothing but success going forward. My employment with the town of Warren has been an opportunity to both learn and contribute. I will take many positive memories with me.”

He declined to comment on his reasons for retiring this year beyond what was stated in the letter.

Watmough has been town manager since January 1996, succeeding Christine Savage. He served four additional years previously as the town’s code enforcement officer.

Doug Pope, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Watmough’s announcement will accelerate the search for a new manager. He said Watmough had planned on retiring next summer but decided he would begin retirement earlier.

Watmough was reappointed to his post in April for another year, but by a close vote by selectmen. The vote was 3-2 with the two members opposed to his reappointment saying in April that the town needed to go in a new direction and that some long-term problems have not been addressed.

The majority of selectmen, however, voiced support for Watmough and cited his service to the community.

Pope said selectmen are considering hiring a company that specializes in recruitment of municipal managers.

Watmough also is serving as code enforcement officer following the resignation of the code officer earlier this year.