By Daymond Steer
CONWAY — At their Tuesday meeting, the Conway Board of Selectmen regretfully accepted the resignation of longtime Town Manager Earl Sires.
The announcement didn't exactly come as a shock.
Selectman's Chair David Weathers noted that Sires' impending retirement was "the worst-kept secret in the valley."
Sires, whom selectmen praised for his professionalism, will step down July 31 after 17 years in the position.
The town manager is the chief executive and administrative officer of the town. Town managers are appointed by selectmen and serve at their pleasure.
Sires, who was out on vacation for the week, dated his resignation letter April 14. Weathers read it aloud.
"It has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of Conway these past 17 years," Sires wrote. "I would like to thank this board and the many board members I have worked with over the years for their support and dedication.
"I would also like to thank town staff for their hard work and commitment to public service."
Sires said he and his wife, Theresa, plan to stay in Conway. He also offered to help with the town departments' transition to a new manager.
Rumors of Sires' retirement have been swirling since January when the Conway School Board allowed Theresa Sires to take early retirement at the end of the school year from her job teaching graphic arts in the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center.
Theresa Sires has been with the Conway School District since 2000.
Asked about his possible retirement in January, Sires said he couldn't confirm or deny any rumors.
The selectmen will discuss at their next meeting how they want to advertise the town manager's position.
Asked if the board has a protocol for replacing Sires, Weathers said that also will be discussed at their May 2 meeting.
Weathers said Sires has been town manager for all but three months that Weathers has been a selectman. "He has done a super job," said Weathers, adding that he joked to Sires that he wouldn't sign the resignation letter.
The motion to accept Sires' resignation with regrets passed 5-0.
Selectman John Colbath said a party should be planned. He was told that is already in the works.
The Sun asked selectmen if they wished to add any comments about losing Sires as a manager.
Selectman Carl Thibodeau said Sires was great to work with. "He will be sorely missed," said Thibodeau.
Town Assessor Tom Holmes, who was serving as acting town manager for Tuesday's meeting, said he had to go all the way back to his 1970s Navy experience to find as close a friend in the workplace as Sires has been.
Weathers said Sires is well-known and respected in the community and said when Sires speaks, people listen.
Weathers said Sires was one of the best representatives of the town that he's seen.
Colbath said, "It was a pleasure to work with him because he always follows through, which is rare."
Selectman Steve Porter said Sires gives timely information and has been helpful in bringing new selectmen up to speed. "It made my transition really easy," said Porter.
Selectman Mary Carey Seavey agreed and added that Sires also was diligent about answering questions from the public.
"If you asked him a question, you better be prepared for the answer," said Seavey. "He didn't sugarcoat it. He is very factual, and you could trust what he said."
Sires earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Arizona and a master's degree from the American Graduate School of International Management.
His career in local government has focused on rural communities with tourist- and recreation-centered economies.
According to the Town of Conway website, before coming to Conway, Sires served as the county manager of Montrose County, Colo.; county manager of Grand County, Utah; and as administrator, city clerk and treasurer of Nogales, Ariz.