Town Manager Richard MacDonald will retire next year, Duxbury selectmen announced this week.Selectmen Chairman Ted Flynn said the date MacDonald selected is Jan. 31, 2013.
“He’s had a long and illustrious career here,” said Flynn at the Monday night selectmen’s meeting.
“You will be missed, he told MacDonald.
MacDonald has been town manager since January 2006. In 2005, he served as acting town manager following the departure of town manager Rocco Longo. MacDonald was hired in 1996 as the director of inspectional services.
MacDonald said his pending retirement is bittersweet.
“I have very mixed feelings about this,” he said in an interview Tuesday morning. “I am going to be 65 next month and I want to enjoy some free time with my wife. I’ve dedicated myself to this job. It’s a 24 hour, seven day a week job.”
MacDonald feels he is leaving the town in good hands and is pleased with what he’s accomplished during his tenure.
“The town is in great shape. It has a management team that is second to none and we’ve got great employees and committees. I just feel that it’s time to step down. I’m very satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. Am I one-hundred percent comfortable with my decision? No. But I just feel that it’s time.”
The January 31 date is “not cast in stone” MacDonald said because he would like to help selectmen when they choose the next town manager.
“I want to participate in the process of finding my successor,” he said. “I don’t want to leave until we have the next person in place.
MacDonald, who was born and raised in Saugus, has lived the last nine years in Haverhill. He commutes each day to Duxbury, which takes him a couple hours.
He is pleased to be leaving after accomplishing some of the larger items on the town’s list of priorities, such as renovating the central fire station and building a police station. Because Duxbury is so far away from his home, MacDonald said he has not been able to share these projects with his wife as much as he would have liked. The couple will be at the fire station open house on Sunday.
“I’m very proud of these projects and I want her to see them. I hope the perception is that I have had a successful term as town manager,” he said.
MacDonald’s “biggest disappointments” in his job have been the separate lawsuits brought against the town by Johnson Golf management and by ex-Police Chief Marc Deluca.
“I’m not going to get into the lawsuit issue but that’s my biggest disappointment,” MacDonald said. “It is not the reason I am stepping down.”
MacDonald doesn’t expect to retire fully, instead he’d like to work part time in a town closer to his home that can use his expertise, maybe in an interim position.
However, he will miss Duxbury very much.
“My heart’s in Duxbury,” he said. “I feel like I am a citizen of this town. It’s been very good to me. Duxbury doesn’t owe me a thing. I owe Duxbury.”