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Bristol Area Lions hear from Bristol Town Administrator 11/06/2019

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Bristol Town Administrator Chris Hall (left) is thanked by Bristol Area Lion Bobby Ives for his presentation.

On Monday Nov. 4, Bristol Town Administrator Chris Hall was introduced by Bristol Area Lion Bobby Ives. Hall is on his fourth career as Town Administrator of Bristol.

Born in England, he first came to Maine as a high school exchange student in Augusta, through the Episcopal Church. He loved Maine enough that he came back after college – he had earned a “first” in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, where his classmates included three Prime Ministers: Theresa May of Britain, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, and his house-mate Malcolm Turnbull of Australia. Hall followed this with a doctorate in the history of arms control.
Hall’s first post-Oxford career was in business, in the mining and steel industries. For 15 years, he was a weekly-commuter from Maine to jobs in Pittsburgh, Houston, and New York City. In 1990, he bought the old General Varney house at the end of Redonnett Mill Road in Bristol Mills, moving from Alna to Bristol. In 1995, the steel processing company was sold, and he took the opportunity to live full-time in Maine.

Hall plunged into public policy, using his economics education and business experience to consult on infrastructure and economic development to the Maine Department of Transportation, municipalities, trucking companies and railroads.
His passion for public policy led him inevitably into a second career in politics. He was elected chairman of the state Democratic party in 1998, and in 2000 to the Legislature, representing Bristol in the House and then the Senate.

Losing an election in 2004, he started on his third career – returning to the academic world. He worked overseas for 12 years, first as President of the American University in Kosovo and later at the International Horizons College in Dubai. In 2016, he came home from Dubai and was considering going to the American University in Afghanistan, when the Bristol Town Administrator came open. His partner Abby persuaded him to apply, saying “honey, I’ll go anywhere is the world with you, unless its name ends in “-stan.”

So here he is, on his fourth career: only the second Town Administrator in Bristol’s history.

As Town Administrator he oversees the various Town functions and departments, but most incumbents know their job well. His primary job is managing to stay within the town budget.

The major project that was just completed was the replacement of the Upper Round Pond bridge. The next projects will be repair of the Bristol Mills Dam and building a new fish ladder, a new Pemaquid Beach Pavilion, and completion of the girls softball field.

In looking at future needs, a priority is the need for better broadband coverage for our seasonal and year-round residents who could then telecommute. A committee is being formed to research and see what options are available.

The need for more affordable housing perhaps on smaller one acre lots in a village setting with shared water and sewage. As we age we need more public transportation, Hall envisioned a bus running up Bristol Road to connect to the Newcastle train station with service to Portland and Boston.

The need to preserve what we love about Bristol and maintaining historic buildings and sites.

The Bristol Area Lions Club only meets nine times a year. The next meeting of the club will be on Monday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at Deb’s Bristol Diner. The speaker to be announced later. To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club serving Bristol and South Bristol, call Walt Johansson at 677-2584.

 

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