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4/24/2013 2:00:00 PM
Waldoboro Planner Takes Job In Rockport
By Shlomit Auciello

Waldoboro Planning and Development Director and Code Officer Bill Najpauer will leave that position May 20, after accepting an offer to serve as Rockport's Planner and Community Development Director.

Najpauer began his job in Waldoboro in November 2011.

In an April 23 interview, he said he was making the change for "professional advancement" reasons.

"Rockport is a forward-engaged community," Najpauer said. "There's a lot happening and I would like to be part of that."

He said Waldoboro, as a town, needs to consider how it wishes to move ahead with its development efforts.

"I've been fortunate to work with a lot of good people in the town who have been instrumental in working and supporting a lot of economic endeavors," he said. "There are some things in the works. You never know if they're going to come to fruition."

"The key for Waldoboro is to move forward," Najpauer said. "It's more than a platitude. It's critical for Waldoboro because my sense here is, that if you stand still, you go backwards. Lack of motion is not an option. If you want to pursue economic development it means being actively involved in promoting the community."

He said that means reaching out to express a positive outlook for the town and working at all times to emphasize its strengths.

Najpauer said those strengths include the town's history and continued involvement in the fiber industry that now involves a number of artists and craftspeople.

"Agriculture is strong and growing," he said. "Waldoboro is unique in the sense that it's diverse in its environment and its demographic."

He said the town has a high percentage of self-employed workers.

"The clam industry is an asset to the entire community," he said.

Najpauer listed the town's water-related assets, such as the Medomak River and a public park on Dutch Neck as "gems" and said Waldoboro has a strong shellfish commission that can guide appropriate growth.

"Every community is different in terms of how you look at economic development," he said. "Waldoboro should begin with what it has and grow from there."

In terms of what is needed, Najpauer said Waldoboro needs increased development in the areas of consumer goods and service and retail stores. He said more local jobs can come from the growth of existing businesses and business sectors.

"We have a lot of artists in the community," he said. "That also increases tourism."

Waldoboro Town Manager John Spear said he was disappointed to see Najpauer leave the town.

"Bill's done an excellent job," Spear said. "I understand his motivations." He said his understanding is the move would bring an increase in pay and would mean Najpauer could focus more on planning. Rockport has a separate code enforcement officer.

"I'm hoping we can find someone quickly who is as qualified," Spear said.

He said the gap between the previous planner's departure and Najpauer's hiring in Waldoboro left a lot of work for Spear to handle, beyond his duties and town manager.

Najpauer, who lives in Albion, was employed to work four days a week in Waldoboro. Spear said the planning and development position is "critical to the town."

At the April 32 meeting of the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen, Spear reminded the board that "we were by no means flooded with applicants," the last time the position was filled.

"Bill was the only applicant that was remotely qualified," he said.

Selectmen Carl Cunningham and Steve Cartwright also praised Najpauer. Cartwright said he understands the town's financial constraints but is concerned Waldoboro cannot compete for the kind of staff it needs.

Rockport Interim Town Manager Roger Moody said confirmation of Najpauer's hiring is likely to take place at the May 13 meeting of Rockport's selectboard.

"Bill has great qualifications," Moody said. "He understands the Midcoast." He said he is pleased to fill the position with someone who has Najpauer's credentials.

Najpauer praised Waldoboro business owners, such as Jeffrey Hurd, as being forward-looking and continuing to grow their businesses. He said there is interest in filling vacant spaces in the downtown.

"There's a lot happening," he said,

"I've enjoyed my tenure here," Najpauer said. "I've enjoyed working with the planning board and the economic development committee. They've been a delight."

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