SACO — Current Ithaca, New York Chief of Staff Kevin Sutherland will be stepping in as Saco’s City Administrator next month.

The City Council unanimously voted at a special meeting Thursday night to approve a three-year contract with Sutherland.

Sutherland will fill a position vacated when past City Administrator Richard “Rick” Michaud retired in May.

Councilor Thomas Roughan said the council interviewed a number of highly qualified candidates, and Sutherland “rose to the top.”

Councilor Kevin Roche said Sutherland had very strong budget and information technology skills. Roche said Sutherland’s contract addresses a lot of concerns citizens had raised. His starting salary is about $11,000 less than the past city administrator’s salary, he will not get a car, and he will live in Saco, said Roche.

“The taxpayer wins, (and) I think the citizens of Saco win for some strong, fresh leadership,” said Roche. He said he was “very proud” of the council’s selection.

Sutherland will begin the position on Sept. 21. His starting annual pay will be $110,000. After six months, it will increase to $115,000, and after one year it will increase to $120,000, under the terms of the contract.

Sutherland, 32, said in a phone interview early Friday morning that he was originally from Providence and wanted to move back to the coast. His wife has been working in Boston for about a year and he wanted a job closer to hers.

Sutherland said he has seven years in government experience.

His described his current position, chief of staff, as the chief operating officer of the city, with the mayor being the chief executive officer.

Sutherland said in his current and past positions, he has streamlined the budget process to make it more transparent and more accessible, both for city officials and the general public.

He said he wants to help the Saco department heads become as efficient as possible.

Sutherland said he sees some similarities in Ithaca and Saco and believes his skills will transfer well.

One of his accomplishments in Ithaca was to get approval for a future canal dredging project, a project that had been talked about for decades.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected] journaltribunecom.

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