June 19, 2018
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Search begins for next Old Town city manager

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

OLD TOWN, Maine — The search for the city’s next manager is under way.

Eaton Peabody Consulting Group has advertised the position on websites for the Maine Municipal Association, Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, and the International City-County Management Association.

Don Gerrish of Eaton Peabody said he fielded several calls about the position within a few hours of posting the openings.

During a City Council meeting in late July, councilors unanimously voted to hire Eaton Peabody to lead the search to fill the position vacated by former City Manager Peggy Daigle when she resigned in May. Assistant City Manager William Mayo has been serving in an interim role.

Councilors then met with Gerrish to discuss their expectations and what qualities they were looking for in the next manager.

Gerrish said the council wanted a good communicator with past experience in municipal government. Someone with an “innovative way of thinking” would be a bonus, Gerrish said.

Part of the reason the city hired Daigle, according to Council Chairman David Mahan, was her experience in economic development. With her help, the council formed an Economic Development Committee, which makes that kind of experience less vital for applicants, he said.

What is vital, Mahan said, is the ability to handle day-to-day managerial operations.

The job posting says applicants should also have “a history of successfully working with and fostering positive relationships with neighboring communities and higher educational institutions,” and should lead with “integrity, honesty, openness and humor.”

Gerrish also led this year’s search for Orono’s town manager, a vacancy filled by Sophia Wilson in April.

Gerrish said he expects to receive between 30 and 40 applications by the Aug. 26 deadline. By early September, he will bring the council a packet of 10 to 15 of the strongest applications and the council will decide which candidates to interview.

In mid-September, the council will interview candidates in person or via Skype or phone.

Gerrish said he expected more than half the applicants to come from out of state.

In late September, the council will hold second interviews with finalists for the position. The council’s choice should be announced in early October, according to Gerrish.

Mahan said the new manager should arrive in time to help in ongoing budget talks and contribute to the discussion of what to do with the community’s aging swimming pool.

“For me, the timeline fits well,” he said.

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