Harrison town manager retires … again

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HARRISON — After seven years at the helm of the “Friendly Village,” Harrison Town Manager George “Bud” Finch has decided to retire once again – and hopefully remain retired this time around.

Finch made the announcement of his intention to retire as of Sunday, Dec. 31, at the Tuesday, Sept. 19 Harrison selectboard meeting. He noted he is 68 years old, going on 69 and starting to get old.

He spent 27 years in the private sector, working for Pratt & Whitney, and served six years as a selectman in Wells and worked as Eastport’s city manager for 15 years prior to becoming Harrison’s town manager.

Finch shared his reasons for having “mixed emotions” about his decision to re-retire. The first was he never expected to remain in Harrison for so long after accepting an interim town manager position in November 2010. He thought he’d stay for maybe for a few months max and then return to his retirement in sunny Florida. But here he remains in western Maine seven years later.

Finch hopes Harrison is better off after his tenure and that “seven years of his retired life were not given up in vain.”

“Harrison has been a great stop along my pathway through life and while I have had thoughts of continuing to serve well into the future, reality tells me the time has come to move on,” he said. “My plan is to go silently into the night as discretion is always the better part of valor and with my best wishes for the people of Harrison.”

Finch noted he loves his work and never considered the town manager gig as a nine-to-five job. Even when he was on vacation or out of town, Finch could be reached on his cellphone or via email.

“I do want to clarify it is possible to love your work and learn to hate your job at the same time,” he said.

He enjoyed his time in the “Friendly Village,” mostly because of its residents.

“I have made many friends in Harrison and for the most part felt I was always accepted as part of the community family and leaving friends and family is always difficult,” Finch said. “I thank them for the seven years. I wish them well.”

Selectboard Chairman Matt Frank told Finch he was happy for him.

“Each of us, after a long career, deserves the right to retire when they think they’re ready and under the circumstances, it’s your decision to go,” Frank said.

“I can tell you on a personal level I will miss you. Over the last seven years you’ve done a great job,” he continued, noting Finch was able to pave more than “20 miles of roads, significantly streamlined services and taxes have not gone up.”

“I couldn’t say it any better,” Selectman Raymond Laplante said.

“You will be missed,” Frank added.

Selectboard Vice Chairman shook his head in agreement and said, “We’re gonna miss ya.”

Code Enforcement Officer John Wentworth asked Finch who he was going to drink coffee with now. They both laughed.

After the meeting, Town Clerk Melissa St. John shared her sentiments about her boss.

“It’s been an honor to work for him the past four years,” she said. “He’s not a leader that everyone can work for because of his style, but I’ve been blessed. I’ve learned a lot from him about what’s right in municipal government and how to make that work for the town the best way possible.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Finch confirmed he would retire to Florida and become a snow bird, as he is a self-proclaimed Beach Boy.

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