BANGOR, Maine — Though he spent the day here, the front-runner for Bangor’s vacant city manager post was kept out of the spotlight.
The candidate, whose name has yet to be disclosed, did not attend a brief special meeting at 5:15 p.m., during which city councilors set Sept. 13 as the date for a public hearing on proposed charter amendments.
He did, however, attend a 6 p.m. dinner engagement with city councilors.
When the candidate arrived, he was hustled into a private dining room at Thistle’s, a restaurant located in the Maliseet Gardens Plaza. He was second in a line composed of most of the city’s nine councilors, who made a beeline for the private meeting space without stopping to answer questions.
Attempts to obtain an interview with the man were unsuccessful.
“The dinner went very well,” City Council Chairman Richard Stone said afterward. He said eight city councilors were on hand. Patricia Blanchette was the only councilor who couldn’t make it, he said.
“It was a very informal conversation. It was more of a get-to-know-each-other [kind of gathering],” he said. “We talked about family and kids and schools and activities and ‘what’s your town like’ and ‘what’s our town like.’” Though he declined to say how many, Stone confirmed that the candidate and his wife have school-age children.
While the candidate met with elected officials, his wife had dinner at Massimo on Hammond Street with a group of about half a dozen women that Stone described as “community leaders.”
Stone said that the candidate and his wife would be in the area today and plan to do some exploring. The couple is scheduled to fly home on Saturday, he said.
Stone said Wednesday that the identity of the candidate would be withheld until a formal decision is made, which could occur in the next week or two.
“It’s a process that we have to go through,” he said. “It may take longer, it might take less time.”
Stone and other councilors have said that the top candidate received the unanimous support of the council and was formally offered the job late last week.
If he accepts, the candidate will succeed Edward Barrett, the longtime former city manager who stepped down last year and since has become city administrator in Lewiston.
By municipal charter, the City Council oversees the contracts of four positions: city manager, city solicitor, city clerk and city assessor. In January, councilors hired the Mercer Group, an Atlanta-based recruitment firm, to conduct the search for Barrett’s replacement. The city paid $16,500 for the firm’s services and up to $8,000 in other costs such as travel and advertising.
Bob Farrar, who was Barrett’s assistant city manager for several years, was appointed interim city manager soon after his boss left. Farrar did not apply for the job permanently and is expected to return to his position of assistant city manager and human resources director once the city manager post is filled.