KITTERY, Maine — A veteran municipal administrator has been named the new Kittery town manager.
Nancy Colbert Puff, 46, currently chief of staff to the mayor of Methuen, Mass., was unanimously offered the job by the Town Council at a special meeting Wednesday night.
Puff, who will begin the job Nov. 12, will be paid $105,000 for the first year of her three-year contract, with the remaining two years negotiable based on her job performance.
“I am so honored to be here, and honored to be working with all of you,” she said to the many department heads in the audience, who came to the meeting to welcome her.
Puff said she owned a home and lived in Kittery for seven years, when she was director of planning and development for the city of Newburyport, Mass. She left town five years ago when she married, and accepted the job of town administrator for the 4,000-population town of Boylston, Mass.
“I loved being the administrator of a small town, and I always wanted to come back to the Seacoast area,” she said. “I love Kittery.”
Her husband, Robert Puff, is director of engineering for the town of Salem, N.H. Under terms of the contract she signed with the town, she has to move to Kittery within six months. Her husband will keep his job and commute, she said.
Puff has a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. In addition to working for several municipalities, she also worked from 2002 to 2007 for a community planning firm in Newburyport.
Under terms of the contract with the town, she will receive 32 days of paid time off from her job annually, an automobile allowance of $350 a month, $50 a month for a cell phone and a relocation reimbursement of $3,000.
Town Council Chairman George Dow said Puff was subject to a background investigation and an investigation into the legitimacy of her college degrees. She also had to provide evidence of “good general health,” he said.
Dow said Puff and the council have been meeting in a number of executive sessions in the past month, after the council narrowed the search down to her candidacy. He said the negotiations were “fair, and provided protection to the town and the candidate.”
“It’s truly a pleasure to have reached this point,” he said.
Puff said she has not yet set specific goals for the job.
“I want to wait until I get here, and listen to people,” she said. “I’ve always believed in customer service and in making a municipality as good as it can be. I’ll work to do that in Kittery, too.”