Thaddeus “Ted” Jankowski Jr. received a standing ovation from South Portland city councilors Monday night as they voted unanimously to hire him as the new city manager.

“In my haste to get Jim to sign the contract, I forgot to get you to vote,” said Mayor Maxine Beecher to the council, as they almost moved onto other business before taking an official vote.

Jankowski was then formally approved, 6-0. Rosemarie De Angelis was absent due to a prior engagement, said Beecher.

“I think when I moved north 14 years ago, I didn’t move far enough north,” said Jankowski during an interview Sept. 14 about moving from Boston to Portsmouth to Maine.

Jankowski, 53, said he liked that the city hired a search firm to find qualified applicants for the city manager position. “It was one of the things that impressed me, the hiring was done in a professional manner.”

Jankowski said he knows he will face challenges as the new city manager, including helping the city figure out how to best use the National Guard Armory building and dealing with the potential impact of the upcoming Taxpayers Bill of Rights referendum.

Jankowski, an avid sailor who has raced competitively in both Halifax and Bermuda, said he has also sailed into Casco Bay on trips up the coast.

“I’ve seen my share of Sea Dogs’ games,” he said, speaking of his familiarity with the area.

Jankowski was commissioner of assessing for the city of Boston for nine years, starting in the early 1980s, working under Mayor Raymond Flynn. He said he worked closely with Flynn on educational funding issues and on efforts to reform standards at local schools. He said he also helped lower property taxes through commercial taxes, like a jet-fuel excise tax and a hotel-motel tax.

“I wore a lot of hats,” said Jankowski of his experience in Boston. And, he added, “The job in Boston was 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

He left Boston to take a position as deputy city manager in Portsmouth, N.H., which he held for more than 13 years. Beecher said the position was good preparation for Jankowski because Portsmouth is “a similar size city with similar problems.”

“One of the things I am most proud of,” said Jankowski about working in Portsmouth, was his involvement in the process to set aside more than 600 acres of the Great Bog for land conservation.

Jankowski said he also helped find financial support for schools, created community coalitions and set aside two acres of land in the downtown, along the Piscataqua River, for public use.

Jankowski said after Portsmouth he took a job as the president of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board. When Jankowski took the job, he was the group’s third CEO in five years. “I knew it was going to be a challenge,” he said.

The organization had wanted to start a nonprofit group focusing on affordable housing, an effort Jankowski supported and promoted with his contacts in Boston. However, after one year, 95 percent of the board members changed, as happened every year, and the group’s vision became less focused on affordable housing and more focused encouraging commercial development, according to Jankowski. He handed in his resignation after 16 months.

Just prior to coming to South Portland, he had been chief operating officer for the city of Worcester, Mass. He said the position was created so that he could assist a recently appointed city manager. The position lasted nine months before being eliminated in May.

Jankowski was chosen through an extensive selection process. The city hired Drake Inglesi Milardo Inc. in Portland to find 10 qualified applicants. The company did a nationwide search and received 70 applications. The group then selected 10, which they gave to the South Portland City Council. “They did most of the leg work,” said Beecher.

Beecher said Jankowski stood out because of “his financial background when it comes to assessing and an extensive background in the political arena.”

Beecher said the council talked to everyone from the mechanic who fixes Jankowski’s car to Flynn, who also served as the ambassador to the Vatican under the Clinton administration.

“Everyone who worked with him said they would work under him or hire him again in an instant,” said Beecher. She said she was not troubled by the short period of time he spent at recent positions with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board or with Worcester, Mass.

Jankowski is currently living in Hampton, N.H. He has three grown children, the youngest a college student. He said he is planning to buy a house in South Portland.

Jankowski takes over the job from James Gailey, assistant city manager, who has been filling in as city manager following the April resignation of Jeffrey Jordan. Gailey will remain as assistant city manager.

City hires new city managerCity hires new city manager

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