Open in App
  • Local
  • U.S.
  • Election
  • Politics
  • Crime
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Education
  • Real Estate
  • Newsletter
  • Bangor Daily News

    Orono hires new town manager

    By Valerie Royzman,


    Orono has hired an Aroostook County organization’s finance director as its next town manager.

    Clint Deschene, who lives and grew up in Presque Isle, starts his new role in Orono on July 8. He works for the Aroostook Agency on Aging, but his career as a town manager began in 1999 and has spanned three Maine municipalities.

    Deschene will guide Orono through a major transition following the departure of its last manager, Sophie Wilson, who was at the helm for 12 years.

    After a national search that drew finalists from Maine, Oregon and Texas, the town chose to hire Deschene because he has the experience to lead staff and the passion to “create a stronger culture of citizen engagement and trust,” said Dan Demeritt, the Orono Town Council’s chairperson.

    Deschene is a listener and relationship builder first, he said. During the search, it wasn’t his first instinct to impress a room full of people with his plans to transform the town, but rather to listen “because that’s who you are,” Demeritt said.

    Deschene, whose hiring was approved at a special meeting Monday night, will earn $135,000 as his annual base salary, according to information provided by the town.

    After the meeting, Deschene said he was overwhelmed with positive emotions. He looks forward to “being a part of something new, exciting and fresh” in Orono, which he hopes will include chances to engage with the public and staff about their vision for the town, he said.

    “I see an energetic, positive community, and I can’t wait to grow that even more,” he said.

    The town paid nearly $30,000 to the Texas-based firm Strategic Government Resources to lead the search, which drew 21 applicants from Maine, other states and even one from India. That pool was narrowed to three finalists who traveled to Orono to meet residents, staff and others earlier this month .

    Deschene began working as a town manager in the late 1990s. He spent three years in Bradford, a decade in Hermon and more than two years in Auburn before moving home in 2014.

    For six years, Deschene worked for SAD 1 as its assistant superintendent for business. Then he began Ignite Presque Isle, a community development nonprofit that worked to turn a local hotel into a business hub. He resigned from the group in 2022.

    The 51-year-old lived in Orono in the early 1990s while attending the University of Maine, and earlier this month said that if he’s chosen as the town’s next manager, he looks forward to returning with his wife and two children.

    He said Monday that he does not have a timeline for when he will relocate to Orono.

    Orono was left without a town manager after Wilson left in early December to lead Freeport. The town did not disclose whether she was fired or resigned, but her departure cost the town about $95,000 in payments to her and legal fees.

    A string of departures preceded Wilson’s exit, and since she left, a few department heads have resigned and taken jobs elsewhere in Maine.

    Cornell Knight has served as interim manager since December.

    After councilors unanimously voted to appoint Deschene, he said what’s right for Orono isn’t something he can tell them yet, but he knows where to look and how to find out.

    “Openness is an admirable community goal,” he said, later adding, “Everyone in the community, council and staff: Come see me. Do not hesitate to stop in anytime.”

    Expand All
    Comments / 0
    Add a Comment
    Most Popular newsMost Popular

    Comments / 0