Brunswick officials and community members on Monday honored Town Manager John Eldridge, who is retiring at the end of the month after working for the town for nearly 40 years.

John Eldridge. The Times Record file photo

Eldridge attended his final Town Council meeting on Jan. 22. Councilors adopted a resolution highlighting his service and presented him with a commemorative Brunswick chair.

Eldridge, 67, was hired as the town’s finance director in 1988 and served in the position for 26 years. In 2014, he was tapped for town manager.

Councilors commended Eldridge for overseeing a host of projects, including the move to a new Town Hall, a new Kate Furbish Elementary School, an Amtrak facility that allowed the Downeaster train to expand service, a new fire station, the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex, a welcome center for migrants and a plan to improve Cook’s Corner.

“John worked collaboratively with community citizens, stakeholder organizations, town staff and councilors to support, grow and strengthen our community,” councilors said in the resolution. “John’s unwavering commitment to the Brunswick community is apparent in his support of fiscal responsibility, expanded social services, enhanced transportation options, affordable housing initiatives and enacting climate action mitigation measures.

“Under John’s leadership, the town has enhanced its reputation as a major employment center and transportation hub in Midcoast Maine.


“John Eldridge’s superior leadership and foresight will continue to provide financial, economic and social benefit for years to come.”

Council Chairperson Abby King called Eldridge’s dedication to the town “unmatched.”

“His strong leadership as director of finance and then town manager has seen Brunswick through the closing of the [Brunswick Naval Air Station], the opening and closing of multiple public buildings, and the COVID pandemic, any of which have the potential to flatten a less-skilled leader,” she said. “And yet, Manager Eldridge has handled it all effectively and with his trademark calm demeanor and sense of humor still intact. It’s fair to say everything I know about serving the municipal public I’ve learned from him. … He will be so, so greatly missed.”

Former council Chairperson John Perreault, who originally encouraged Eldridge to apply for the manager position, praised him for his work during the pandemic.

“During COVID, we probably spent way more time together than we did with our families,” Perreault said. “Your leadership got us through.

“I don’t know one person in my life who has the integrity, the will to want to make this town succeed, the drive to make whatever this council wants to happen happen.


“No one deserves retirement more than you do.”

Eldridge credited town staff and residents.

“I’m so happy to have served this town,” he said. “I was fortunate to work with some wonderful, wonderful people. I know they’re going to continue to do great things for this town.

“One of the things that I’m most thankful for is that taxpayers of Brunswick helped me build a house, helped me have a family here, have children here, put children through college here. It’s a great community, with great people.”

He recalled his first day on the job as finance director, when he was shown the one computer in the municipal office.

“I’ll indelibly remember that there was the computer that housed the town’s financial information, sitting under a dry-cleaner bag because the roof leaked,” he said. “We’ve come a long way from then.”


Eldridge was one of the first in the country to attain the certified public officer designation from the Government Finance Officers Association and received multiple certificates of achievement for excellence in financial reporting from the organization.

Former Councilor Dan Ankeles highlighted Eldridge’s financial know-how and willingness to assist councilors. One of the issues Ankeles campaigned on was repairing the high school track.

“Before I had even gotten the seat warm, you had designed an ingenious funding mechanism that took care of it,” he said. “It’s one example of how you’ve empowered us on these past councils to do so much for our fellow residents and made us feel like we could make a difference.”

Eldridge’s daughter, Erin, praised her father for his commitment to his job, which she said involved many late-night phone calls from home.

“I’ve seen it day in, day out, 24/7, my entire life,” she said. “You managed to do that both with a commitment to the town and a commitment to your family.

“I would like to thank you both as a citizen and a daughter for your commitment.”


Added Councilor Nathaniel Shed, “This little corner of Maine has been left in good shape thanks to you. You’ve definitely left it better than you found it.”

Eldridge said he was overwhelmed by the support.

“I’ll be cheering from my chair at home,” he said.

His last day is Jan. 31. Town Finance Director Julia Heinz will serve as interim manager until a replacement is found, a process that is expected to take three to four months.

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