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Town manager to retire his plans are uncertain


Hampstead Town Manager John A. Riley will retire March 17 from his longtime job, but not from public service, he said yesterday.

"I would like to still stay in local government work of some sort," said Mr. Riley, who lives in Manchester. He will be 66 Tuesday.

The talk in both towns has been that Mr. Riley is planning a run for mayor of Manchester. The election is in May.

"Time will tell," he said. "It's a possibility."

The current mayor, Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime, is a distant cousin of Mr. Riley's, and Manchester Councilwoman Kathryn Riley is his sister-in-law.

Mr. Riley has been Hampstead's manager for more than 10 years. During that time, he also held an elected council position in Manchester until 1993, when the attorney general determined that the two paid public positions were a conflict under state law.

Since Mr. Riley became town manager in September 1984, Hampstead has nearly tripled in population, from 1,300 residents in 1984 to 3,600.

Before taking the job, he managed hazardous waste disposal for the Black & Decker Corp. plant in Hampstead. For seven years before that, he managed the town of Manchester, where he was born and raised and has lived his entire life except for four years in the Navy.

"We've just progressed through the pains of development," Mr. Riley said. "Of course, there's been a lot of growing pains, and I think the town has developed according to the master plan, gone right along with that.

"It was just the point things had reached in Hampstead where I thought it was time I left," he said, declining to elaborate.

He said he will be available to the town on a consulting basis if necessary, and will help tie up loose ends before he leaves.

In December, Hampstead officials created an assistant town manager's position and hired Len Bohager to fill it.

Mr. Riley said that position was needed because of the extra work for town employees because of lawsuits and appeals filed by residents, many of whom say town services are insufficient to handle increased development.

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