Bryan Kaenrath will take up his new job as Saco city administrator on Jan. 1  following his unanimous appointment to the position by the City Council on Nov. 25. Andrew Dickinson

SACO — This city is on the move and Bryan Kaenrath, Saco’s new city administrator, said he’s excited to be a part of it.

Kaenrath, 36, will start his new job Jan. 1, following his unanimous appointment by the Saco City Council on Monday, Nov. 25.

In a telephone interview, Kaenrath, currently town administrator in North Hampton, New Hampshire, said Saco is very appealing.

“Saco has a lot of really interesting projects going on,” said Kaenrath. “It is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. There are a lot of economic development initiatives underway, and I think more to come.”

He touched on downtown revitalization efforts and said he’s looking forward to working on projects like the erosion that plagues the shoreline at Camp Ellis.

Kaenrath was chosen from an initial field of 31 applicants. Of those, 13 candidates participated in a rigorous essay process, with eight moving forward with a thorough background check, said Saco Communications Director Emily Roy in a prepared statement. She said three candidates were invited to a multi-phase interview process with a community panel, three city staff members, and the City Council. Kaenrath was invited back for a second interview with the City Council.

He has signed a three-year contract with the city, at a salary of $115,000.

“I think he is well spoken, articulate, he has energy and he is looking forward to working with the city of Saco and our wonderful staff,” said Mayor William Doyle “The council feels Bryan will make an excellent addition to the city staff and will lead the city in a positive direction.”

“He has a deep understanding of the apolitical nature of a city administrator,” said former Mayor Marston Lovell, whose term expired Dec. 2.

Prior to taking the job in North Hampton in March 2018, Kaenrath was town manager in the Hancock County town of Gouldsboro for three years. He previously served four terms as a Democratic state legislator, representing part of South Portland in the Maine House of Representatives.

City Councilor Marshall Archer said Kaenrath will be an asset to the city.

“Bryan comes to the City of Saco with a myriad of government service experience that will be an asset to our community,” said Archer, who represents Ward 1. “His legislative service at the state will be beneficial to many of the city’s projects slated for the next few years, including school capital funding, the Camp Ellis jetty regional efforts, and the addition of a new turnpike entrance. I am thrilled to have Bryan continue the work of our current administrator’s efforts.”

Working in North Hampton has been “a great experience,” Kaenrath said, but the prospect of working in Saco was alluring and interesting.

A native of Long Valley, New Jersey, Kaenrath graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in political science in 2006, which was also his first year in the Maine Legislature. When he’s not working, Kaenrath said he likes running, horseback riding, mountain biking and sailing.

Kaenrath replaces Kevin Sutherland, whose contract expires Dec. 31. On Monday, the City Council approved an arrangement that will see Sutherland stay on until Jan. 10 to assist in the transition.

Sutherland, hired in the fall of 2015,  told the City Council in June that he would not seek renewal of his contract. At that juncture, Municipal Resources, Incorporated of Meredith, New Hampshire, was hired to assist with a search for a replacement.

Kaenrath said he plans to move to Saco from his current home in Kittery.

“I look forward to working with the mayor, City Council, and most importantly the citizens of Saco in leading an honest, open, and transparent city government,” said Kaenrath in a prepared statement. “Accessibility to the public is extremely important to me, please always consider my door open to you all.”

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