Bedford manager leaving to oversee Sullivan County
BEDFORD — Town Manager Jessie Levine is stepping down from her position, effective Jan. 13, after serving the town for 14 months. Levine announced her resignation during a non-public session at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, stating personal reasons.
"I'm going back home to Springfield," she said. "I lived in Springfield for 12 years and I still own a house there that hasn't sold, and I'm dating someone there."
Levine has accepted a job as Sullivan County manager and will be overseeing a budget, the county nursing home, the Department of Corrections and the UNH Cooperative Extension's agricultural and education programs. She will also be working closely with the three elected county commissioners. She will earn an annual salary of $95,000, and begins her new position Jan. 15.
"Despite my move to Bedford and my responsibilities as your town manager, my heart never truly left the Upper Valley. I cannot pass up this opportunity to return to the part of the state that I love and where I have a strong base of friends and loved ones," said Levine in her resignation letter. "Bedford is a wonderful community. While I look forward to returning home, I will miss working with Bedford's very special group of volunteers and staff."
She said the county's population is about 44,000 people and the budget is larger than Bedford's.
"The Sullivan County manager position came up and it's a great move for me. It's still public service, which is my passion," Levine said. "I always thought municipalities were the closest to the people but what the county provides is a great amount to the elderly, Medicare and Medicaid, counseling for people of all ages, juvenile and delinquency programs. It's a great safety net."
She said it may be an interesting career move, but one she couldn't decline. Levine wants Bedford residents to know that she is, "not running from Bedford, I'm leaving for something," she said.Town Council Chairman Chris Bandazian said the council regretfully accepts her resignation, but understands her decision.
Bandazian said the Town Council will begin its search for a new town manager, assuring residents that, "Although hiring an equally capable town manager will be a challenging task, the council has initiated the process of retaining another superior town manager."
She promised to work hard during the next 60 days to make the transition as easy as possible and assured the council and residents that, "the town of Bedford is in good hands with its excellent and experienced department heads, each among the best in the state in his or her area of expertise. "I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for everything this community has done for me and to the town council for supporting all the initiatives that myself and the department heads have brought before them."