Saco City Administrator Kevin Sutherland

SACO — City Administrator Kevin Sutherland of Saco is not seeking renewal of his contract, and will work through the end of the year.

Sutherland made the announcement at a Saco City Council workshop on Monday night, reading from a letter he wrote to the council. He requested that the council shift from discussions of extending his contract and instead hire a consultant to identify the qualities it wants in a next administrator, as he no longer wished to extend his contract beyond Dec. 31.

“I truly appreciate the opportunity the council from 2015 gave me to serve this community and the one-year extension this Council has afforded me,” he said.

Sutherland left the position of Chief of Staff in Ithaca, New York to become city administrator of Saco in September 2015.

Sutherland listed the achievements made by the city under his administration, which included strengthening relationships with surrounding communities by shared positions with Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach and the creation of a joint committee of Saco and Biddeford councilors and staff, creation of Age Friendly Saco, updating the comprehensive plan, the sale of nearly all the city’s remaining industrial and business park lots and the purchase of land to develop additional business park space, adding a marketing and communications division in the city’s administration, and updating the city charter.

“I am proud of the work we’ve achieved and the team we’ve built,”said Sutherland. “Honestly, that has been the hardest part of my decision to pursue other opportunities, but I need some time away from the public sector. I’d like to focus my energy on community development from a development perspective and will be searching for a role in that field while finishing out these last few months.

Sutherland said he has several goals he’d like to achieve in before his contract ends including the appointment of the city’s next police chief, updating the city’s zoning ordinance, and drafting a council supported bond referendum for a proposed public safety building on Route One.

As Sutherland’s voice choked with emotion, Councilor Marshall Archer got up from his seat, and approached Sutherland, shaking his hand and thanking him for his service to the city.

Micah Smart echoed Archer’s sentiments, stating that he appreciated the work Sutherland had done for Saco.

“I think you’ll be a stellar developer,” said Mayor Marston Lovell.

Councilor Lynn Copeland said Sutherland had made many accomplishments in the past four years.

“I’m very proud that you’ve been part of the city,” she said.

Sutherland’s contract was previously set to end in September, with negotiations for a renewal set to begin in March, as City Charter requires they begin six months prior to when the contract is set to expire. Sutherland in March asked the council to extend his contract to December, so the City Council could finish the budget process before taking time for contract negotiations.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected].

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