James A. Bennett

Biddeford City Manager


            A lifelong resident of Maine, Jim Bennett grew up in the Town of Lisbon.  Serving first as a Lisbon Selectman at the early age of 21, Jim has been actively involved in public administration since 1982.  In addition to serving as an elected town official, he has managed eight Maine municipalities, ranging from a small community of 2,500 up to the 2nd largest city within the State.  Most recently, he served as the City Manager for Presque Isle, Maine (pop. 9,741) from 2010 to 2015. 


            Throughout his career, Jim has developed a reputation of successfully assisting communities improve their image and the pride citizens have in their communities.  He has also focused on ways to effectively assist communities facing varying degrees of financial challenges, having written and implemented multiple successful financial recovery plans.   In the most challenged municipality, Jim assumed the administration of a community with an $850,000 deficit undesignated fund balance (1/8th of the annual budget).  Due to Jim’s foresight and leadership, the community’s financial stability made a complete turn-around within one year.


            Jim’s contributions also include the development of several restructuring plans, facilitation and implementation of community vision and goal setting initiatives, and development of strategic plans and downtown revitalization efforts. 


In addition, Jim has been recognized by the International City & County Management Association (ICMA) for outstanding programs;

  • in 2002, he was recognized for Westbrook’s Strategic Plan;
  • in 2006, for Lewiston’s Southern Gateway Project;
  • in 2008 for Lewiston’s cost-saving Health Care Management by Prevention.

He was also designated the 2003 Manager of the Year by the Maine Town & City Management Association (MTCMA) and received the 2006 Public Service Leadership Award from the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. 


            Jim is the Past President of both the International City & County Management Association (2014-2015) and the Maine Town & City Management Association (1998-1999).  He previously served as one of ICMA’s eighteen Vice-Presidents (2008 to 2011) representing the Northeast region (consisting of Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and all six of the New England States).  He is currently serving on the Executive Board of the Maine Municipal Association (2017-2020).  He has served in a number of other leadership roles throughout his career as well. 


            Besides his recent service as the City Manager for Presque Isle, Maine, Jim has served as the Town Manager for the communities of Dixfield, Maine (1986-1988, pop. 2,510), New Gloucester, Maine (1988-1990, pop. 4,336), and Old Orchard Beach, Maine (1990-1997, pop. 7,663) as well as the Interim Town Manager for Sabattus, Maine (2009-2010, pop. 5,002).  He also served as the City Administrator for the City of Westbrook, Maine (1997-2002, pop. 16,142) and the City of Lewiston (2002-2009, pop. 35,690).  His tenure as a Lisbon selectman was from 1982-1986 serving a population of 9,608. 


            Jim developed and instructed Cash Management for Municipalities and co-developed and instructs Maine Municipal Association (MMA) Basic Budgeting.  He is considered a Legacy Leader by ICMA for his work as a facilitator for ICMA’s Emerging Leaders Development Program.  He is serving as an Adjunct Professor at University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and in the past for Andover College in the Business Department.  He also serves as a Senior Advisor for Municipal Resources, Inc since October 2009, specializing in consultant services for New England local governments. 


            Jim is recognized as a Credentialed Manager by ICMA and as a Certified Maine Manager by MTCMA.  Jim earned his MBA from the University of Southern Maine and also has undergraduate degrees in Business Administration (B.A.) and Accounting (A.A.) from the University of Southern Maine and Bentley College, respectively.


            Jim is married to the former Deb Hagan of Brunswick and they have two children, Mitchell & Amanda, attending the University of Maine-Orono and Bowdoin College respectively.  An avid golfer, he also enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and snowmobiling.  He is active in the Masons and the Shriners including participating as a member of the Clown Unit as ‘GINJO’ the klown.