Bangor council names interim city manager

Posted Jan. 07, 2010, at 8:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — As expected, city councilors will name Bob Farrar as Bangor’s interim city manager while a search is conducted to replace longtime manager Ed Barrett.

The council will make the decision official at its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, but Chairman Richard Stone said Farrar, Bangor’s assistant city manager, was an obvious choice.

“The council has identified Bob as the appropriate individual to serve in this interim capacity while we undertake a comprehensive search for a new city manager,” Stone said. “He has worked in the city manager’s office for more than 20 years and knows the day-to-day workings of the city. He is well suited for this position and has the full support of the council and senior management staff.”

While Farrar will take over management duties for the foreseeable future, he has told councilors that he would not be a candidate to take the position full time.

“I am pleased to be assisting the City Council and organization as interim city manager,” he said. “The city will be faced with many challenges over the next several months including dealing with difficult budget issues, making important decisions regarding the arena project, and selecting a new city manager.

“Among other contributions, I hope to provide continuity and stability during this time of transition, while continuing to move the city ahead.”

Councilors are in the process of hiring a recruitment firm to conduct the search for a new manager and do not expect to make any decisions for several months.

Barrett ended his nearly 22-year tenure as Bangor city manager on Dec. 26. City councilors decided in late October that they wanted to take the city in a different direction, and they asked Barrett to retire 18 months before his contract was up. That decision was criticized by some members of the public and prompted one councilor to request that the council reconsider the decision. That vote failed 5-4, but led a resident to take out recall petitions for the five councilors who upheld the vote, David Nealley, Rick Bronson, Gerry Palmer, Susan Hawes and Pat Blanchette.

Soon after announcing his retirement, Barrett was approached about a vacant city administrator position in Lewiston. He quickly became one of four finalists, and, early last month, Lewiston councilors named Barrett their new administrator. He is expected to begin that job Monday.

Farrar has spent more than two decades at Bangor City Hall in a variety of roles including director of administration, assistant city manager for administrative services, and assistant city manager for government operations. He has been the city’s human resources director since 1996.

Previous municipal experience includes six years as the first town administrator in Topsham.

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