By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — Mayor Stephen Zanni’s chief of staff is leaving Methuen for Maine.
The Kittery, Maine, Town Council on Wednesday night hired Nancy Colbert Puff as their new town manager. Colbert Puff came aboard as Zanni’s chief of staff when he took office in 2012. Her last day working in Methuen will be Nov. 12.
Colbert Puff kept a low profile in Methuen but Zanni credited her yesterday for working “behind the scenes” on the high school renovation and expansion project, as well as money-saving efforts with employee health insurance and solar power installations.
“She’s been a great asset to the city,” said Zanni. “We really worked effectively as a team. She developed great chemistry with my administration.”
A Lawrence native, Colbert Puff, 46, lived in Kittery for seven years before marrying and moving to Methuen five years ago. Colbert Puff said she applied for the Kittery town manager job in July.
“It has been a true pleasure to work with Mayor Zanni, my colleagues in the mayor’s office, and the entire department head team in Methuen,” said Colbert Puff in a press release issued by the city. “While I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the great town of Kittery, I will miss working with Mayor Zanni as he continues to dedicate himself to serving the Methuen community.”
Colbert Puff makes roughly $90,000 in Methuen. In Kittery, she will be paid $105,000 during the first year of a three-year contract, according to a report by SeacoastOnline.com.
Before coming to Methuen, Colbert Puff worked as town administrator in Boylston from 2008 to 2012. She has also previously served as planning director in the city of Newburyport and as a senior associate at the planning firm Taintor & Associates.
Zanni said he will begin search for Colbert Puff’s replacement after the Nov. 5 municipal election.
“I will definitely be going outside (City Hall) for this,” said Zanni.