The new town manager in Limestone has never governed a municipality before, but he wants to contribute his salary to help the community move forward.
Limestone’s Select Board opted earlier this month to employ real-estate manager Alvin Lam after seven years of management upheaval. Lam, 32, has since signed a three-year contract with the town and will start on June 30.
Residents questioned Lam’s selection, questioning whether his $80,000 compensation was warranted given his lack of experience as town manager. Earlier this year, the Select Board rejected five candidates as unqualified.This time, they chose Lam over another contender. He volunteered to do the job for free after accepting the post.
There is a catch. The town approved Lam’s offer to contribute his full salary, but Lam stressed that the money would assist future municipal-driven initiatives, according to Walt Elliot, the town’s interim manager.
“He can decide where he’d like that money to go, with the Select Board’s approval,” Elliot said.
Lam joined Limestone in 2021 after working as vice president of loans for GenX Capital, an Auburn-based real estate firm, and as financial director for Able Management, a Portland-based commercial mortgage company.
Lam added that real estate investments in multi-family housing and commercial properties in Maine enabled him to sell his portfolio and use the proceeds to cover living expenses. As a result, he will be able to donate his salary to the community.
He has never worked in town administration, but he sees the manager’s position as a means to give back to the community he loves, he said.
“My first priority is to listen to what peoples’ wants and needs are and build some short- and long-term goals from there,” Lam said.
Lam was raised in Portland. His parents, Yan and Shelly Lam, met in Portland in the 1980s as refugees from Vietnam and Laos, respectively. Yan and Shelly currently live in Portland, and both recently retired from Hannaford and Texas Instruments.
Lam explained that seeing his parents’ work ethic taught him the importance of investing in both individual and community achievement.
He has helped out at the Limestone Development Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, and yearly town events. He wants to come up with strategies for luring more local firms and getting local youngsters active in volunteerism and local politics.