Presque Isle city manager resigns after a month on the job

3 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Just a month after he became Presque Isle’s city manager, Tyler Brown has resigned, city officials said Thursday.

Brown started the job on Feb. 8 and sent a letter to city council members March 7 that said he didn’t want to continue in the position, citing personal reasons.

It’s the second resignation of a public official since Wednesday night to hit the city. 

Newly elected City Councilor James Carroll abruptly resigned following the council’s March 6 meeting, citing disagreement with how the city handled industrial council representation. 

The council approved Brown, a former airline operations leader, as the new city manager on Feb. 7 with a $120,000-per-year salary. 

The news of Brown’s resignation has left city officials reeling as they try to figure out what to do next.

“It was pretty much a complete surprise,” City Council Chairman Kevin Freeman said Thursday. “It will be a few days before we know what our next steps are.”

Brown’s resignation was effective immediately on March 7, according to Kim Smith, the city’s resource development and public information officer.

Brown was hired to replace former City Manager Martin Puckett, who left in October after 11 years to become executive director of the Central Aroostook Association, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

City officials, council members and a hiring committee started searching for Puckett’s replacement in October and felt they had a good candidate in Brown, Freeman said.

The entire council was surprised by Brown’s resignation, he said.

“However, if this position isn’t the best fit for him, it is better to deal with this now than for the manager to be ineffective in a position that he isn’t comfortable with,” Freeman said.

During his month in office, Brown had gotten to know staff and community members. But going from a corporate role to a position in municipal government can be challenging and Brown decided it wasn’t a good career move for him, the council chairman said.

It wasn’t a decision he made lightly, Brown said in his letter to city councilors, which Freeman shared with the Bangor Daily News.

“Due to personal reasons, I find it is in the best interest of both myself and the Council that I step down,” he wrote. “I have come to realize that I may not be the best fit for this role. I believe there are alternate individuals who might be better suited and provide the loyalty you are desiring.”

Brown offered to stay on until a new or interim city manager is chosen, he wrote in the letter. He thanked the council for the opportunity to serve what he called a wonderful community.

Brown came to Presque Isle from Georgia and was a former operations manager for Delta Airlines. He grew up in Ludlow, Vermont, and looked forward to the city’s new airline terminal project. Two weeks ago he said he wanted to prioritize communication between the city and its residents.

Attempts to contact Brown were unsuccessful. 

The council may have a better idea by next week how they will proceed to replace Brown, Freeman said. 

“The city council and I were pleased with where we were going with Tyler as our city  manager and we wish him the best in his future plans,” he said.