By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Town Manager James McKenna has one year left in his contract and he has announced that he will not seek a renewal in an interview with The Sun Transcript on Tuesday night.
The announcement was made last week at a department heads meeting. McKenna said he makes the announcement with a heavy heart. He has been the Town Manager since 2009.
“I’m invested in the community and have gained tremendous professional experience here,” McKenna said. “It’s time for me to pursue a profession I have often thought about – teaching.”
Although he has no firm teaching plans he said it is something he wants to pursue.
“I want to move into that space for the next phase of my life,” he said. “I feel I have given my all and the community is far better off than when I arrived in 2009.”
McKenna, who pulls a $150,000 salary has enjoyed his time getting to know residents.
“The people here are tremendous, salt of the earth,” he said.
McKenna knows that managing a town budget of $60 million is like running a business. During his time in Winthrop, McKenna saw over $170 million in investment in the town from local, state and federal monies. Property taxes are also up 20 percent since 2009.
Working with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, also a Winthrop resident, has been one of McKenna’s highlights.
“I adore the speaker,” McKenna said. “I’ve grown to admire him and his commitment to the town.”
Collaboration has been an important factor especially when dealing with the town council and the school department, he said.
McKenna is satisfied with his work fixing parks, infrastructure around town, increasing the bond rating but also for his handling of the Department of Revenue consent decree he inherited when he arrived.
“The town is better off fiscally today than when I arrived,” McKenna said.
He’s also satisfied knowing the town has a brand new middle/high school and a soon to come new Miller Field.
McKenna is unsure of his departure date but his contract does run out in June 30, 2018.