Courtney O’Donnell will begin her new position as Casco Town Manager on July 8. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

CASCO — New Town Manager Courtney O’Donnell looks forward to “seeing what is important to folks and what they’re hoping that I can do moving forward.”

After 2½ years as town manager in Stockton Springs, O’Donnell will begin her new job in Casco July 8 with a starting salary of $95,000.

The town has been searching for months to find a replacement for Dave Morton, who is retiring after 41 years in the position. Casco had to readvertise to fill the position in April after offers made to finalists fell through.

Selectboard Chairwoman Holly Hancock is confident in O’Donnell’s success: “She has considerable experience in government and in a small town. She just seems like a good fit. She’s knowledgeable.”

O’Donnell said she looks forward to initially getting the lay of the land, meeting people and hearing concerns from residents: “This is a great opportunity to have their voices heard immediately by the town manager. I’m excited to see what that produces, to see what is important to folks and what they’re hoping that I can do moving forward.”

As a people person, she said, she is eager to talk to residents and believes strongly in an open door policy.

In Stockton Springs, “my door is wide open. Citizens frequently walk right in and say hi. I think that’s really important, especially in these small communities, that access to the manager. I think having an open door policy benefits everyone.”

At 30, O’Donnell is older than Morton was when he began in the position at 22.

She said taking over for a manager who has been in the position for 41 years is “certainly, without a doubt a little intimidating.”

But she is optimistic: “At the end of the day, I just do my best and hopefully that’s enough. I think it presents a unique opportunity for the town, and that’s why I’m so excited to hear from citizens. Everyone has their own priorities, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.”

Morton will assist O’Donnell with the transition.

“She’ll be a great addition to the town,” he said. “She has experience. I think she just has a demeanor that will fit well here. She’ll do a great job.”

O’Donnell was born in Houlton, graduated from Schenck High School in East Millinocket and has lived in Maine her entire life.

“I’m an avid outdoorsperson. Hiking, camping, swimming — I love all that stuff. And Maine has so much to offer,” she said.

O’Donnell previously served as an administrative assistant for the city of Bangor. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine and an MBA in organizational management from Husson University.

She is getting married in August, and she and her fiance Michael plan to buy property in Casco.

Looking back on her time in Stockton Springs, she is proud to have converted all of the muncipal energy needs to solar via an array on the town garage. She is also proud to have rebuilt the town’s website herself to make it less clunky and more user-friendly.

Looking forward, she is eager to jump into her new job in Casco: “There’s always going to be things that any manager is not going to be familiar with, and the important thing is how do you find the information, how do you figure it out, and I’ve learned how to do that pretty well.”

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-91043 or at [email protected]

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