City Manager for Presque Isle Martin Puckett has resigned after serving the city for 11 years with his final day being Oct. 15. Credit: Paul Bagnall / The Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — City Manager Martin Puckett has resigned from his post effective Oct. 15 after serving Presque Isle for 11 years.

Puckett submitted his letter of resignation to the City Council on Thursday, Aug. 17. He will become the new executive director for Central Aroostook Association, which helps people with developmental disabilities.

Presque Isle has seen a lot of change and growth during Puckett’s tenure, including lowered tax rates for at least a half dozen years. Now the City Council will have to find someone who can keep the positive momentum going.

“I have come to the difficult decision that it is time for me to explore new opportunities and challenges in my career journey,” Puckett said in his resignation letter.

Puckett noted some accomplishments from his time as city manager including improving the Community Center, installing the Splash Pad Playground, hosting a growing farmers market at the Riverside Pavilion, an active economic development department and increasing the number of recreational activities available to residents.

The city has also collaborated with 14 municipalities for property assessment for taxation, Puckett said. The assessment services are countywide in Aroostook County as far north as Madawaska and as far south as Amity.

Puckett expressed excitement about moving on to the Central Aroostook Association, which helps people with developmental disabilities through eight different programs including physical and occupational speech therapy and skills and aims to improve independent living through community-based programs.

Puckett gave a two-month notice to allow the City Council some time to start looking for a new manager. The transition comes with mixed emotions for Puckett, as he leaves the city he has helped put  in good financial standing.

“We went through a long period of declined revenues that definitely made us transition to look for other revenue sources for the city to help fund [it], but there were times we had to make significant budget cuts, impacting services at the time,” Puckett said.

One of the more recent struggles was getting services for people during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Central Aroostook Association posted the executive director job on June 29, according to Paul Reid, president of the organization’s board of directors.

In an email, Reid welcomed Puckett: “Martin brings strong leadership experience and collaborative and engaging management style — and a proven record of getting things done.”

Central Aroostook Association’s current executive director, Steve Richard, will retire after Puckett takes over in mid-October.

Prior to serving as Presque Isle city manager, Puckett wa town manager for Mapleton, Castle Hill and Chapman. He first came on in Presque Isle as a deputy city manager in March 2012 and was appointed city manager over the summer of 2015.

The City Council will meet Tuesday, Aug. 29, to look at a firm that could be hired to find a new city manager and to discuss the city’s next steps, Puckett said.

“It’s an exciting time for the city of Presque Isle [and] it’s a good period, I think, for a transition,” Puckett said.