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Sullivan County Hires Manager

Woman Chosen for Top Spot Served in Hanover, New London

Jessie Levine in an undated photograph. (Simon Rios photograph)

Jessie Levine in an undated photograph. (Simon Rios photograph)

Newport — The former Town Administrator in New London has been hired as the new county manager of Sullivan County.

Jessie Levine, 43, currently the town manager in Bedford, N.H., was selected from a pool of 33 candidates who submitted resumes to replace Greg Chanis. Chanis resigned in August to take a job with county government in Santa Barbara County, Calif.

“I think we did really well,” Sullivan Commission Chairman Jeff Barrette said Tuesday. “She was heads and tails above everyone else. Nobody came close.”

Levine, who also worked as assistant town manager in Hanover, said the county appealed to her because of the way it overcame financial problems and undertook new projects. Her annual salary will be $95,000.

“It seems they are always looking to improve the services model and that was particularly exciting,” said Levine said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It is an innovative county with a lot of committed volunteers and employees.”

As the county’s financial and administrative manager, Levine’s responsibilities will also include oversight of the nursing home, Sullivan County Health Care, Department of Corrections, Cooperative Extension and county property.

As town manager in New London from 2000 to 2011, Levine said she was fully aware of the deficits that plagued the county for several years. She said seeing the county “pull itself up from the bootstraps to recover” and go on to make capital improvements in the nursing home, build the community corrections center and biomass plant were all factors in her decision to seek the position. Being back home in Springfield, N.H., where she has a house also played a part.

“Bedford is a wonderful community and I enjoyed my time and work there,” Levine said in a news release from Sullivan County. “But home is where the heart is and my heart never left the Sunapee/Newport region. I could not pass up the opportunity to come home and continue working in a field that I love.”

Barrette said the commissioners were lucky to find someone of Levine’s caliber with close ties to the area.

“She is local to New Hampshire and she is from here. That was huge,” Barrette said.

With 13 years in municipal government, including 15 months in Hanover and 16 months in Bedford, Levine said she is looking forward to the challenge of the new perspective of county government.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the commissioners’ choice for the Sullivan County manager’s position,” Levine said in the release. “It is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to working with the commissioners in serving the people of Sullivan County.”

Barrette said the county received resumes from outside New England but most were from the six-state region and the seven candidates who were invited to interview were all from New England.

Levine’s first day on the job is Jan. 15.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.